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HIFU Focal Therapy: Precision Prostate Cancer Treatment

“In Focal Therapy, the aim is to get rid of the cancer that is causing concern whilst ensuring that the patient does not become incontinent and has a much lower chance of losing erectile function.”

Mr Tim Dudderidge, Urological Consultant at The Focal Therapy Clinic

WHAT IS HIFU FOCAL THERAPY

FOR PROSTATE CANCER?

Focal Therapy is a general term for a minimally invasive treatment for prostate cancer, targeting only the area of the prostate gland with the aggressive tumour while leaving the rest of the prostate and its surrounding structures alone. 

High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) is the most popular and well-evidenced type of Focal Therapy treatment for prostate cancer. Extensive clinical trials have shown that HIFU provides effective cancer control whilst minimising risks of erectile dysfunction and urinary continence.

HIFU is a soundwave-based treatment for prostate cancer that uses a pair of high-energy ultrasound beams that heat targeted areas of the prostate, destroying cancer cells. 

HIFU is done under precise image guidance, making it highly targeted. This means it avoids damaging areas that control urinary and erectile functions.

HIFU is performed under general anaesthetic in a single treatment session. Usually lasting between 90 and 140 minutes, it is a largely well-tolerated procedure that allows men to leave the hospital within 90 minutes of completion.

The majority of men resume normal activity within 2 – 4 days although strenuous exercise is not recommended in the first week after treatment.

The Focal Therapy Clinic network of expert urological consultants have been pioneering the development and use of HIFU in the UK for over 15 years. We use the most advanced equipment and expertise to ensure safe and accurate HIFU treatment, quicker recovery and better results.

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Listen to Mr Dudderidge discuss HIFU Focal Therapy with Dr Mark Porter of the Times on Radio 4's Inside Health Programme. 

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“Using precision diagnostics, we are able to pinpoint and treat the specific area of cancer. Traditional prostate cancer treatment is like using a sledgehammer to kill a flea.”

Alan Doherty, Urological Consultant at The Focal Therapy Clinic

Mr Alan Doherty, consultant urologist at The Focal Therapy Clinic

BENEFITS OF HIFU FOCAL THERAPY

  • Effective cancer control – similar to radical prostatectomy or radiotherapy treatments
  • Minimally invasive (no surgery, no radiation, no hormone therapy)
  • Day (outpatient) procedure 
  • Quick recovery time (within 2-3 days)
  • Minimal pain and discomfort
  • Minimal risk of incontinence (98% fully continent at 2 weeks)
  • Preservation of erectile function (95% maintain erectile function)
  • Can be repeated if necessary 
  • Does not exclude further treatment with radiotherapy or surgery

    HIFU Prostate Cancer Treatment, Before and After

Listen to Consultant Urologist Tim Dudderidge provides a clinical overview of focal therapy

"In delivering the treatment we avoid the patient having progressive disease, but, importantly, we preserve their functional status, meaning the patient does not become incontinent and has a lower chance of losing erectile function."

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At The Focal Therapy Clinic we are passionate about prostate cancer sufferers knowing about all of their treatment options.

We know that settling on the right treatment is a big decision for you. If you would like to speak to one of our friendly and knowledgeable patient advocates about your diagnosis and the HIFU Focal Therapy treatment option then please do not hesitate to get in touch today.

All enquiries to The Focal Therapy Clinic are confidential, and we are delighted to offer our advice and support with no obligation.

    HIFU FOCAL THERAPY PROCEDURE

    EXPLAINED

    FOCAL THERAPY FOR

    RECURRENT PROSTATE CANCER

    The development of salvage focal therapy has been transformative for men who have had a recurrence of clinically significant prostate cancer following radiotherapy treatment. It offers these men a chance to cure, or to prevent the progression of, their cancer – and to avoid further invasive treatment and long-term hormone therapy.

    Two of our consultants, Mr Tim Dudderidge and Mr Raj Nigam, have been pioneering focal salvage treatments over many years. They have both participated in major clinical trials that have established the value of Focal Therapy as a salvage treatment for patients with recurrent prostate cancer following Radiotherapy.

    Salvage focal therapy is a safe and highly-effective treatment. Evidence shows that:

    • 3 out of 4 men who have the treatment require no further treatment for their prostate cancer, after a period of 6 years.
    • Approximately 9 out of 10 men have survived for over 6 years after having this treatment.
    • Less than 1% of men having this treatment experience serious complications.

    HIFU FAQS

    The cost of the initial consultation involving a review of your medical files and a second opinion on your diagnosis and treatment options is £250, including VAT. This detailed consultation can be conducted in person or by video call and typically takes between 30-45 minutes.

    The cost of the HIFU Focal Therapy procedure including treatment, medicine, and after-care is from £13,000, including VAT.

    HIFU Focal Therapy is covered by all the major healthcare insurers in the UK.

    The relevant CCSD Code for the HIFU Focal Therapy treatment option is: M6770

    HIFU is performed under general anaesthetic in a single treatment session. Usually lasting between 90 and 140 minutes, it is a largely well-tolerated procedure that allows men to leave the hospital within 90 minutes of completion. 

    Patients are able to return home within a couple of hours of having Focal Therapy treatment. 

    You will be advised not to drive for 24 hours due to having a general anaesthetic. 

    Many patients choose to go back to their normal working life within 48 hours. 

    The risks and benefits of any procedure are different for everyone - your doctor will be able to explain in detail the risks that may affect you. 

    There is a small risk of side-effects and complications following HIFU Focal Therapy, the most common of which are temporary urinary symptoms and the risk of contracting a urinary tract infection. 

    The objective of Focal Therapy is to treat only the areas of the prostate gland that contains cancer and leave the healthy tissue intact. This non-invasive approach avoids damaging the erectile nerves or the urethra thus minimising the risk of urinary incontinence or erectile function. 

    Recent clinical studies have shown that following HIFU Focal Therapy treatment: 

    • 98% had no issue with urinary continence 
    • 95% maintain erectile function although 20% of men may need pharmaceutical support


    Click here to review the statistics on sexual function and incontinence in detail.

    Focal Therapy has been offered on a limited basis in select academic hospitals since 2004. However, the number of patients treated in the UK is low.

    The mission of The Focal Therapy Clinic is to make this option as broadly available as possible and to ensure that men have a good understanding of all their treatment options before they make a decision.

    The first step is to evaluate your suitability for Focal Therapy. This will be based on your MRI scan and biopsy results.

    Provided that your diagnostic results are of sufficient quality your consultant will be able to give you a definitive answer regarding your treatment options and suitability for Focal Therapy.

    Once you are comfortable that Focal Therapy is the right option for you, treatment can be arranged in a matter of weeks.

    One of the major benefits of Focal Therapy is that it does not preclude the subsequent treatment options of further Focal Therapy, surgery or radiotherapy.

    Around 74% of men will not need any further treatment for their prostate cancer after Focal Therapy. The majority of men who do need further treatment will be treated again by Focal Therapy. Approximately 7% of men will require radical treatment in the future.