Ultrasound hope for prostate cancer patients


A NEW prostate cancer treatment could provide more effective treatment with fewer side-effects, according to a new report.

The study was the first to use an experimental treatment known as HIFU (high-intensity focused ultrasound) to treat areas of cancer which are only a few millimetres in size, a technique known as focal therapy.

Focal therapy is similar in principle to the “lumpectomy” operation commonly used as an alternative to a full mastectomy in breast cancer.

One year after treatment, none of the 41 men in the trial had incontinence, and just one in 10 suffered from poor erections — both common side-effects of conventional treatment. The majority (95 per cent) were also cancer-free after a year.

Researchers concluded that “focal therapy of individual prostate cancer lesions, whether multifocal or unifocal, leads to a low rate of genito-urinary side-effects and an encouraging rate of early absence of clinically significant prostate cancer”.

The results of the phase one study, funded by the Medical Research Council and conducted by researchers at University College London, are published in the journal Lancet Oncology.

Dr Hashim Ahmed, who led the study at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and UCL, said: “We’re optimistic that men diagnosed with prostate cancer may soon be able to undergo a day case surgical procedure, which can be safely repeated once or twice, to treat their condition with very few side-effects.

“That could mean a significant improvement in their quality of life. This study provides the proof- of-concept – we need to develop a much larger trial to look at whether focal therapy is as effective as the current standard treatment in protecting the health of the men treated for prostate cancer in the medium and long term.”

Actor Ryan O’Neal has said the prognosis for his recovery from recently diagnosed stage two prostate cancer is positive.

The 70- year-old actor said in a statement that his doctors expected him to make a full recovery. – (PA/ Reuters)