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Results of a London study shows that prostate cancer can be destroyed by a high-intensity ultrasound beam without causing any serious side effects characteristic of other treatments.
The clinical testing was done in London and in Basingstoke in southeastern England. Researchers discovered that it is possible to wipe out tumor cells without doing any damage to the fragile tissues surrounding the affected area.
The usual prostate cancer treatment methods, which are radiotherapy and conventional surgery, cause some serious side effects for patients. Many of those who have undergone these treatment methods have become impotent and some had become incontinent.
In fact, the side effects are so prevalent that a lot of men that have slow growing tumors are often advised not to undergo such treatment methods anymore.
This can change with the recent scientific discovery in England.
During the clinical trial, doctors used the procedure called High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) to obliterate the tumors.
Results of the test show that of the 41 men who went through the new procedure, none of them had incontinence while only 10% had impotence. The test results were revealed in a Lancet Oncology journal report.
Dr. Hashim Ahmed of the University College London Hospital said that the results are very encouraging. He said that that his team is very optimistic that men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer may be able to go through a day-case surgical procedure in the near future. He also added that such procedure can be repeated safely once or twice, to treat their illness with only a few side effects. Dr. Ahmed said that it could mean a considerable improvement in the quality of life of prostate cancer patients.
The doctors first used high-resolution MRI scans of the prostates of the patients to map the exact place of the tumors. Once they have mapped the precise location, HIFU machines are then used to focus ultrasound waves in an area about the size of a grain of rice.
The high intensity ultrasound beams from the HIFU machine heat up the cells, killing them without damaging the surrounding tissues.