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Wednesday 26th October 2016

Prostate hope from sound waves

2nd July 2009

A new experimental therapy could offer an alternative form of treatment to patients with early stage prostate cancer.


High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) uses sound waves to heat and kill cancerous cells.

So far, researchers from University College and Princess Grace hospitals in London have used HIFU on 172 men with high rates of success and low levels of side effects.

Of the initial group, 159 men were followed up a year later and 92% did not have any recurrence of prostate cancer.

Another 800 men in the UK have now been recruited to take part in the trial.

The British Journal of Cancer report said the men involved in the trail were discharged on average five hours after treatment, though experts say longer term follow up is still needed to confirm the potential of HIFU treatment.

Dr Hashim Ahmed, who led the trial, said: "This study suggests it's possible that HIFU may one day play a role in treating men with early prostate cancer with fewer side effects."

HIFU, which has already been used in parts of Europe and Japan, can target cancerous tissue down to a millimetre accuracy and literally boils the cells until they are destroyed.

Prostate cancer sufferers are treated by surgery or radiotherapy, but the disease still kills 10,000 men a year in the UK.

Cancer Research UK said HIFU needed "careful evaluation.

Meanwhile, the Prostate Cancer Charity say added long-term data was required but felt that HIFU was potentially a 'third way' approach to the treatment of localised prostate cancer.


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