Sound tackles prostate cancer

A pioneering new type of prostate cancer treatment is using sound waves to target individual cells. It could prove highly effective and have fewer side effects.

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Cancer charity: Results promising but still at early stages

The Prostate Cancer Charity has welcomed research published today that suggests a new treatment (focal HIFU) can dramatically reduce the side-effects of traditional treatment, which include incontinence and impotence.

However, it warns that the sample size is too small to be conclusive at present:

We need to remember that this treatment was given to fewer than 50 men, without follow up over a sustained period of time. We look forward to the results of further trials, which we hope will provide a clearer idea of whether this treatment can control cancer in the long term whilst ridding men of the fear that treating their cancer might mean losing their quality of life.

– Owen Sharp, Chief Executive, The Prostate Cancer Charity

Treating the most common male cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men.

  • In the UK, more than 37,000 men are diagnosed each year
  • The condition leads to approximately 10,000 deaths
  • Standard therapy currently involves treating the whole prostate
  • Commonly, radiotherapy is used or surgery - which removes it completely

'Encouraging signs' from new prostate therapy

A new prostate cancer treatment could provide more effective and targeted results:

  • A light beam of ultrasound heats up cancer cells in an area as big as a grain of rice to 80 degrees
  • The intensity of heat totally destroys the cancer cells
  • It cuts down on damage to healthy tissues and reduces side-effects
  • Treatment is known as HIFU (high-intensity focused ultrasound)