The goal of Focal Therapy is to treat only the area with the aggressive tumour, while leaving the rest of the prostate and its surrounding structures alone. This approach is already widely accepted in other types of cancer treatment. For instance, we commonly treat kidney cancers by removing or ablating only the tumour while leaving the rest of the kidney intact.
Over the last ten years, focal therapy for the prostate has caught up, mainly due to the development of precision imaging of the prostate with MRI so that clinicians can see the precise location, size and grade of cancerous lesions.
The prostate tumour that is targeted is referred to as the index lesion. In prostates with more than one tumour, this is generally the largest tumour with the highest grade. In this case, it is believed that the index lesion drives the behaviour of the prostate cancer and that treating it alone with focal therapy can lead to good overall cancer control with significantly fewer side effects.
The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system. It makes most of the semen that carries sperm. The walnut-sized gland is located beneath the bladder and surrounds the upper part of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder.
When cancerous cells develop and grow within the prostate gland, they initially appear as defined lesions. A lesion is part of an organ or tissue that has been damaged by cancer. In early stage prostate cancer the lesions are confined within the prostate gland and can be treated, often in a way which preserves the gland and its functionality.
Like all cancers, the risk to life from prostate cancer is based on the cancer spreading out of the prostate gland and into lymph nodes, bones and other vital organs. The best way to prevent this spread is to identify the cancer early.
Symptoms of prostate cancer can include frequent urination, especially at night, blood in urine and/or semen and increases in PSA levels. While these symptoms may indicate other non-life threatening conditions such as, BHP or Prostatitis, it is important that the possibility of prostate cancer is ruled out.
Before the development of new precision technologies, surgeons were often compelled to take a one size fits all approach to diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. A non-precision biopsy is unable to pinpoint cancer to a specific region of the prostate, which can result in the unnecessary removal of the entire prostate gland. Radical treatment, such a removing the prostate gland, potentially causes problems with bladder control and inability to maintain an erection.
Fortunately, the diagnosis of prostate cancer has been revolutionised with the introduction of MRI scans and precision biopsies which allow for more accurate diagnoses and better, more personalised treatment.
The advances in technology are allowing for a much more precise diagnosis of prostate cancer, which in turn allows for a more personalised treatment plan. This is a major step forwards in preventing potentially unnecessary procedures, and ensuring that you have access to much more accurate and appropriate treatment.
For some patients, with early detection of prostate cancer, precision diagnosis can allow them to undergo a form of focal treatment which avoids the need for surgery or radiotherapy. Focal treatment is non-invasive which can preserve the prostate and its function.
Our surgeons, using precision diagnostics, will be able to ascertain whether the focal therapy option is suitable in your case.
As a group of consultants we are passionate about all prostate cancer sufferers knowing about all of their treatment options.
Based upon the details that you know and can provide to us, we will send you a Plain English personalised preliminary suitability report for HIFU Focal Therapy treatment of your prostate cancer.
You can use the information we provide in your conversations with your existing NHS and/or private treatment consultant. Should you wish to talk with us further we would be grateful to help you, but there is absolutely no obligation for you to do so whatsoever.