Over the past 15 years, more than 7,000 U.S. men have travelled overseas to places like the Bahamas, Mexico, Canada and Grand Cayman. They have made the trip to undergo HIFU, a non-invasive prostate cancer treatment that is not yet available in the United States. HIFU is the treatment of choice for prostate cancer in several countries around the world and has been performed on over 50,000 men across the globe since the late 1990’s. Within the next few months, this procedure may be approved by the FDA, which would pave the way for the treatment to be performed here in the US. This will transform the way prostate cancer is treated here.

HIFU, or High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, is a safe, precise, non-invasive therapy indicated the treatment of localized prostate cancer. With HIFU, controlled thermal energy is delivered through a rectal ultrasound probe to destroy prostate cancer. The treatment is directed to cancer within the prostate without affecting important nearby anatomic structures that are critical for men to maintain normal sexual and urinary function. Numerous long-term studies have documented excellent oncologic outcomes with HIFU.

Compared to traditional treatment options, men who undergo HIFU typically have fewer side effects related to treatment. This includes significantly reduced erectile dysfunction, loss of ejaculate, incontinence, radiation effects to the bladder and rectum, pain and blood loss. HIFU is performed in an outpatient setting and offers quick recovery.

When men are faced with the new diagnosis of localized prostate cancer, they have typically had to choose between surgery and radiation. This decision is often difficult because each treatment has fairly good cancer outcomes but significant potential negative side effects. HIFU provides an appealing alternative by providing excellent oncologic outcomes that are similar to surgery and radiation but with significantly decreased risk of incontinence, erectile dysfunction and loss of ejaculate.

With HIFU, focal therapy is also possible. Focal therapy means treating only the parts of the prostate that are known to have cancer, in some sense a “male lumpectomy”. This maintains excellent cancer outcomes while even further reducing side effects.

HIFU is expected to revolutionize the way prostate cancer is treated in the U.S. Dr. Tracy Gapin of Sarasota Prostate Care is one of only a handful of urologists in the United States with extensive HIFU experience. He has spent several years travelling abroad and gaining specialized training and expertise treating prostate cancer patients with HIFU. Dr. Gapin is proud to offer consultation to any men with questions regarding HIFU for treatment of prostate cancer.

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