Every man diagnosed with prostate cancer will be treated individually depending on the aggressiveness and stage of his disease. While removing the prostate surgically is still the gold standard for providing the best shot at preventing the return of prostate cancer, not all men may need or want to choose this option. That’s where focal therapy for prostate cancer can be a treatment option for some men who have a tumor that is determined to be small and slow-growing and has not spread beyond the prostate gland.
Focal therapy is a minimally invasive treatment treating only the area of the prostate gland where the cancer is located. This type of treatment is known to cause fewer side effects, such as urinary and sexual function, when compared to prostate removal surgery and radiation therapy. However, since the prostate is not removed, ongoing active surveillance will be required to watch for prostate cancer tumors that may have been missed or tumors that may return or spread. If the cancer does reoccur, then a different treatment method may be recommended.
What types of focal therapy can be used to treat prostate cancer?
There are a variety of focal therapies that can be used for treating prostate cancer. Men should keep in mind that they may not be a suitable candidate for focal therapy depending on his particular type of prostate cancer.
Here is a look at several types of focal therapy that are possibilities for treating prostate cancer:
Cryotherapy for prostate cancer
For most men with a localized tumor confined to the prostate, cryotherapy is safe and common procedure considered to be a focal therapy. During cryotherapy, cancerous prostate cells are frozen using very cold temperatures. The procedure involves using hollow needles placed into the skin between the scrotum and anus. The needles are guided to the specific spot of where the tumor is located to destroy the cancerous cells. The benefits of using cryotherapy include a shorter stay in the hospital, a quicker recovery time, and less pain.
HIFU or High Intensity Focused Ultrasound
High Intensity Focused Ultrasound is a common procedure that uses high frequency sound waves that have the ability to penetrate deep into the prostate tissue focusing on the location of the cancer cells. The sound waves deliver a dose of elevated temperature to cancerous tissue kills the cells.
Irreversible electroporation (IRE)
This focal therapy uses electrical currents to kill cancer cells. The way this is done is the urologist inserts needles into the area of the prostate where the tumor is located. The needles are placed on either side of the tumor. An irreversible electroporation machine is used to submit an electrical current between one needle to the other, passing through the cancer cells. The current creates instability in the cancer cells that cause irreversible damage to the tumor.
Photodynamic therapy for prostate cancer (PDT)
This therapy used a medication known as a photosensitizer or photosensitizing agent that destroys cancer cells in the prostate. When the mediation is exposed to light, a form of oxygen called oxygen radical is what kills the cells. This therapy can be taken orally, spread directly onto the skin, or offered intravenously. In one to three days, the medication will no longer be present in healthy cells, but it can be found and remains in cancerous cells.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.