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 widely accepted in other types of cancer. For example, 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 these cases, 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 typical treatment approaches to prostate cancer involve either surgical removal of the entire prostate (radical prostatectomy) or administration of radiation therapy to the whole prostate.
These approaches can be associated with side effects such as erectile dysfunction or urinary incontinence. By targeting treatments to the tumour and avoiding structures that surround the prostate, such as the nerves that control erections or the urinary sphincters, providers seek to limit the side effect profile of prostate cancer treatment in properly selected patients.
“We now have good scientific evidence that focal therapy does very little harm in terms of erectile function or urinary leakage whilst providing good oncological control.”
Mr Raj Nigam, Consultant Urological Surgeon
Focal therapy relies on the use of energy sources to generate extreme temperatures that lead to tumour destruction. Available options include cryoablation, focal laser ablation and high-frequency ultrasound ablation.
The UK is the world’s centre for the research, development and practice of focal therapy, and many of the clinical pioneers are based here.
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.