Sound waves to treat cancer

Scientists in Southampton have been using high frequency sound waves to treat prostrate cancer, in a new technique that minimises unpleasant side effects.

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Sound waves used to treat tumours

Experts at Southampton's university hospitals are using sound waves to treat prostate cancer - without surgery.

Tim Dudderidge, a consultant surgeon at Southampton General Hospital, is among UK doctors performing high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) routinely on NHS patients.

The procedure, which sees patients leave hospital the same day, allows surgeons to focus high frequency sound waves directly onto tumours in the prostate gland without affecting healthy surrounding tissue.

Although conventional treatments such as invasive surgery to remove the whole prostate or radiotherapy can effectively treat tumours, patients often suffer side effects such as incontinence or impotence.

The launch of this service is fantastic news for NHS patients from across the south of England and means we now are one of the few centres in the region to offer the full range of surgical and oncological therapies for men suffering from prostate cancer. This technique is truly revolutionary in that it acts in such a targeted way, where we are able to focus sound waves on areas the size of a grain of rice. Early study data has shown the treatment to be very effective at treating tumours while also minimising damage to surrounding tissue."

– Tim Dudderidge, consultant urological surgeon, Southampton General Hospital
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