A new technique for treating prostate cancer called focal therapy causes less side effects in male sufferers.
Phase one of a study on patients found that fewer men were left with erectile problems or incontinence – common side effects of traditional treatment for the most prevalent cancer in males in the UK where 37,000 new cases diagnosed every year.
Trial leader Dr Hashim Ahmed from University College Hospital, London (UCL) said:“In this trial of 41 men, we targeted individual areas of cancer rather than the all prostate. By doing so, we limit the collateral damage that occurs to sensitive tissues around the prostate.”
If focal therapy becomes widely used, male sufferers would only need a small surgical procedure with minimal side effects.
Trial participant Robert Louth described his experience of focal therapy: “The actual treatment is really fast. I went in hospital in November. I got there at 7 o’clock in the morning and was out by 2 o’clock. We went shopping in Westfield (shopping centre) and spent the afternoon in Stratford (east London). It’s a fantastic treatment, I had no side effects.”
Focal therapy uses high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) to treat areas of cancer only a few millimetres in area and is similar to the lumpectomy used to treat breast cancer instead of removing the breast.