Prostate cancer is a major health issue that the world is facing nowadays. About 1.1 million men worldwide are diagnosed with the frightful prostate cancer. Incidence rate of prostate cancer in patients is increasing rapidly & it has become a leading cause of death among men worldwide. Various surgical procedures are available for treatment of prostate cancer in men. However, latest treatment called HIFU or High Intensity Focused Ultrasound has gained remarkable popularity across the globe. It is non-invasive in nature & comparably a safer method for treating prostate cancer as compared to other conventional methods. It offers great relief & enormous benefits to patients suffering from cancer in the prostate region.
What is High Intensity Focused Ultrasound?
High Intensity Focused Ultrasound or HIFU is a procedure which heats up the cancerous tissues & makes it die. A trans-rectal probe is inserted into the rectum for this purpose. High frequency sound waves are targeted from that position to cancer affected areas in prostate gland. It then destroys the diseased prostate tissues.
There are no major warning signs of early prostate cancer in patients. When a tumor causes the prostate gland in patients to swell or when cancer spreads beyond the prostate, the enumerated symptoms may be observed.
- Frequent Urination – When patients have a constant urge to urinate, especially at night time.
- Interrupted Urinary Stream – A weak urinary stream is most commonly seen in patients. They may find it hard to start or stop stream of urine.
- Leakage of Urine – Patients may also notice leaking of urine when coughing or laughing.
- Proper Urinating – Patients observe inability to properly urinate while standing up.
- Pain & Discomfort – Patients may feel pain or even burning sensation during ejaculation or urination. Patients may also experience blood in urine or semen.
- Stiffness – Patients may experience stiffness in lower back, pelvis or upper thighs & severe pain in the bones of that region. Generally, weakness in lower limbs is experienced along with constipation.
- Fatigue – Patients may notice loss of appetite & fatigue.
When patients notice these signs & symptoms, they must take an appointment with an oncologist in order to know their health status. It might be helpful in avoiding future complications.
Candidacy of patients for prostate cancer treatment using HIFU is elaborated as follows.
- When a patient has tried all treatment options like radiation, chemotherapy, surgery & all these do not seem to work.
- Patients who are not good candidates for other treatments.
- When cancer has not metastasized or spread elsewhere within the body.
This treatment is not for the following cases.
- Patients with an absence of rectum.
- When patients are suffering from rectal stenosis or have many prostatic calcifications/stones.
- If the patient has blood coagulation problems.
- If there is a problem or reaction while receiving general or spinal anesthesia.
HIFU is an effective procedure for treatment of the dreadful prostate cancer in men. Major advantages of HIFU are stated below.
- It is safe & effective
- It is non-surgical & non-invasive
- Has fewer side effects compared to traditional methods
- It is an outpatient procedure
- Recovery is much faster
Various tests are available to diagnose the state of prostate cancer. Following tests are commonly used to detect prostate cancer in the absence of major symptoms.
- Digital Rectal Evaluation for Prostate Problems – A digital rectal examination is a simple test to detect prostate cancer. It can identify the disease in its initial stages.
- Prostate-Specific Antigen Blood Test – When outcomes of this blood test are extreme, it may be an indication of prostate cancer.
- Prostate Ultrasound & Biopsy – This test can clearly indicate the presence of prostate cancer.
- Cystoscopy or Bladder Scope Test – Cystoscopy or a bladder scope, measures the health of bladder & urethra. This test can signify abnormal conditions of prostate.
- CAT Scans & Prostate Cancer Diagnosis – This test uses x-rays to create a cross-section picture of the body by which swollen or enlarged lymph nodes can be detected.
- MRI Test – MRI test uses radio waves, large magnet & a computer to evaluate the prostate & surrounding lymph nodes, ably distinguishing between cancerous & non-cancerous areas.
When patients have a large prostate, they might be offered several other treatments before they undergo HIFU.
- Hormone Therapy – Hormone therapy is often given for three to four months before performing HIFU procedure. This can make the prostate smaller in dimension & make prostate cancer simpler to treat. Oncologists will discuss this with patients prior to performing HIFU.
- Transurethral Resection of Prostate (TURP) – This is a treatment which is usually performed to eliminate prostate tissue & regulate flow of urine. This operation can be done before HIFU to minimize risk of several urinary troubles after the treatment.
In addition to this, patients should avoid smoking & excessive alcohol consumption prior to undergoing HIFU procedure in order to heal faster. Patients should follow all the pre-surgical instructions given by oncologists. It will help patients as well as the surgeons to perform the procedure with ease.
Patients should understand the procedure of HIFU completely & then only should agree for treatment. During initial consultation, patients should openly ask their oncologists about the risk factors associated with HIFU. Patients may take the help of following list of questions during their consultation.
- What is HIFU?
- What does this procedure involve?
- What are the advantages of HIFU?
- Is this procedure suitable for me?
- Can you show me the results of HIFU procedures you have carried out in past?
- If I don’t wish to undergo HIFU, what are my other treatment alternatives?
- Are there any major side-effects of HIFU procedure? How likely am I to get affected by them?
- How much time do I have to spend in hospital?
- How will I manage long-term side-effects of HIFU?
- When can I return back to a normal lifestyle?
- Can I expect satisfactory results? What can I do for ensuring successful HIFU treatment?
- How likely is it that I will be required to undergo additional treatments after HIFU?
HIFU is generally performed under general anesthesia. A trans-rectal probe is used for this purpose; the probe is lubricated & passed into the rectum of patients. Surgeons focuses a sharp beam of ultrasound emitted by the probe directly on the cancerous tissue. This process heats up the tissue & destroys it. The heat is properly controlled by a software to ensure that only cancerous region of prostrate is targeted. HIFU procedure might take 3 – 4 hours of time to complete depending upon the size of prostate cancer & areas affected by it.
This is an outpatient procedure.Hence patients can leave hospital on the very same day. Recovery time is about 2 to 3 hours which again depends upon the size of prostate cancer. Patient may experience slight difference in urinary functions such as more frequent urine or urgency to urinate. Blood or mucus like material may pass in urine which is quite normal symptom during this period. Patients can return back to normal routine within a couple of days.
There are several risks associated with HIFU. Complications & side-effects of HIFU are significant & may include the following.
- Urinary incontinence
- Erectile dysfunction
- Urinary frequency & burning
- Ejaculation troubles, including possible retrograde ejaculation
- Rectal incontinence, bleeding & burning
- Rectal wall injury from probe
- Risk of recurrence of prostate cancer
These risks increase with each number of times the procedure is performed. Some clinical researches indicate that many men are left impotent after HIFU procedure due to chances of damage to small nerves responsible for erectile function. Patients should discuss these risk factors with oncologists before undergoing HIFU procedure for prostate cancer.
HIFU is a simpler & efficient method to treat prostate cancer. Patients will easily get rid of pain post-procedure. However, they should regularly attend follow-up sessions with oncologists or surgeons. Aim of follow-up sessions is as mentioned below.
- To check how prostate cancer of patients has responded to the procedure
- To keep an eye on complications which may develop afterwards
- To deal with any side-effects of HIFU
Apart from this, healthy lifestyle & proper diet are essential to maintain a sound body. Patients must strictly follow instructions given by surgeons & should also maintain a positive state of mind.
Medical Tourism in India for High Intensity Focused Ultrasound Procedure
India is well-known for its presence in medical tourism industry nowadays. High-class medical facilities, well-qualified oncologists & affordable cancer treatments are some of the traits of Indian healthcare system. Latest procedures, such as HIFU are being practiced in India successfully for treating prostate cancer.
Affordable HIFU Procedure with Travcure Medical Tourism
Travcure medical tourism is a prime medical facilitator in India. Healthcare experts associated with Travcure help international patients in finding the best prostate cancer treatment & surgical interventions in India. They provide outstanding medical facilities to undergo procedures & affordable treatment packages from top healthcare giants like Apollo, Fortis, Max Healthcare & many more. They have access to top-notch oncologists & HIFU specialists who are skilled at minimal invasive techniques & traditional surgeries. Travcure always ensures that patients receive transparent, high-quality, seamless, affordable & hassle-free extensive range of treatments & services at affordable costs.
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