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New Treatment for Prostate Cancer - HIFU

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HIFU - High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound is the newest treatment for prostate cancer.   Proven highly effective in Europe, and in use overseas for around 15 years, but has yet to be FDA approved here. So, a handful of U.S. doctors are bypassing the FDA by performing the procedure in other countries, such as Mexico and the Dominican Republic.  Canadian doctors are able to perform the procedure because Canada (like some other countries) recognize European clinical trials, whereas the U.S. does not.

How it works - it's a relatively non-invasive procedure that is takes 1-4 hours and uses focused ultra-sound to heat the tumor to 185ºF.  Success rates depend on a variety of factors, incl. which stage it's at, but some are quoted as being as high as 90%.  And, in some cases a followup treatment is required.  There are a variety of possible side effects, incl. complete loss of sexual function.

The main doctors in North America who are HIFU leaders and performing this procedure:
Dr. Lazar of SF Bay Area, uses the Sonoblate 500
Dr. Scionti, formerly of Hilton Head, SC and currently in Boston. Work is performed in Puerto Vallarta and uses the Sonoblate 500
Dr. Suarez of Miami Fl - has clinics in S.A., Canada, Mexico, Dominican Rep, Africa and uses Sonoblate 500
Dr. Orovan of Toronto Canada, at Canada Maple Leaf HIFU. Uses Albatherm machine.

The Albatherm is more invasive than the Sonoblate 500, there are arguments for each method being better.  Dr. Scionti used to use the Albatherm but switched to Sonoblate.

Cost runs $20,000 - $30,000 and some insurance will cover it. has a list of insurance companies that have been known to reimburse patients for the expense.

Of course, nothing is a 100% guarantee when it comes to cancer, but considering it's typically a one-time procedure and is outpatient...  And, if doesnt work there's always the more traditional methods of treatment to fall back on.

For those who have had radiation treatment and had their prostate cancer return, there are currently clinical trials in the U.S. (which would be free) for using the Sonoblate to treat the recurrence. identifier: NCT00772317

Posting this because I believe patients should be aware of all of their options.  Not all patients are candidates for the treatment, it depends on a variety of factors incl. what stage the cancer is in.  And, of course do your own research into this.

disclaimer: this post is for informational purposes only and not intended as any sort of endorsement of the procedure, nor of any guarantee of success of the treatment.

Southern Jewel's Fab Finds:
Thank you for this article.
This info will benefit a person I know.
(passed along via email just this second)

Welcome.  Found it when digging for clinical trial info on prostate cancer because brother-in-law's father has been diagnosed with it. 

The way I see it, even if it doesn't work it's worth a shot before trying radiation therapy or prostate removal.  I did a google and ABC Nightline did an article about it in 2008.

On the clinical trial thing - most using HIFU are listed as no longer accepting applicants or ended. There is one still listed as taking applicants but it's for people who had radiation therapy and had their prostate cancer return.  It's identifier number is: NCT00772317

Southern Jewel's Fab Finds:

--- Quote from: WayOutWest on May 23, 2013, 01:36:56 PM --- It's

--- End quote ---

We follow that site closely hoping for fibro, costocondritis or myofascia pain syndrome.

I do enjoy ABC Nighline and trust the show.

Very interesting.  :-\ I do have a question, though. The prostate is basically wrapped around the urethra. And of course has nerves involved. This is why men frequently have issues with sex after surgery to remove the prostate - it is very difficult to separate without damaging. And the urethra is typically resected (ouch). So... if your are heating the prostate to kill the cancer, what happens to the urethra etc in the middle?


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