HIFU: Questions And Answers About A New Medical Procedure For Prostate Cancer

When you hear HIFU, you probably have no idea what it is. When someone informs you that it is medically related, you may think that it sounds like some sort of alternative Asian medicine. In fact, HIFU is an acronym, which stands for High Intensity Focused Ultrasound. It is the latest non-invasive treatment for prostate cancer. If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, and the cancer is localized, i.e., only your prostate is effected, then the following questions and answers will help you decide if HIFU is right for you.

How Does Ultrasound Kill Cancer?

You are probably most familiar with ultrasound and unborn babies in the womb, so you are probably wondering how ultrasound can kill cancer. What is okay to use in one procedure cannot possibly be a cure for cancer in another, can it? In this case it is, but only because the energy used in the HIFU procedure is cranked up and hyperfocused on your prostate, and not on a living organism, like a fetus. The high intensity waves penetrate deep into the prostate tissue and blast the cancer cells, allowing your body to naturally dispose of them via your urethra.

How are the Ultrasound Waves Delivered to the Prostate Tissue?

This may not be the most comfortable question and quite possibly the least comfortable answer, but an ultrasound probe wand is placed in your rectum and positioned near or just above the prostate. When the ultrasound is turned on, the HIFU physician or ultrasonographer can see the prostate and the cancer growths. When the wand is maneuvered around the rectum, it can be positioned to target the cancer growths seen on screen. Then the high intensity waves are turned on and vibrate through the perineum (the connective tissue that divides the wall of your scrotum from your rectum). 

Will the Procedure Hurt? How Does It Compare to Surgery?

No, in most cases the only discomfort you will encounter is with the probe. It is a little bigger than your doctor's fingers, and therefore a little more uncomfortable for some men, but it is far less painful than surgically removing the prostate and risking the release of cancer cells into the bloodstream. Also, most men can return to normal sexual activity within a week without any side effects. With a traditional cancer treatment, the perineum and sometimes the scrotum have to be cut into and moved aside to reach the prostate, leaving the patient in a lot of pain and unable to return to normal activity for several weeks. Visit www.internationalhifu.com for more information.