New treatment can help patients with prostate cancer

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Over 230,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year.  For those who need treatment, but want to reduce the side effects, there is a new tool being used at IU Health hospitals. It’s called HIFU or high intensity focused ultrasound.

“When you focus the energy like that, it creates heat and destroys whatever area it’s focused on,” says Dr. Mike Koch, the chairman of the urology department at the IU School of Medicine.

Koch is trained to use the device in an outpatient setting, with a patient under anesthesia. The device is called Sonablate.

“As it goes through the wall of the rectum, the energy is spread out. But as it gets further away from the probe, it’s a concentrated little small point, much like a magnifying glass. It focuses light and when it gets all concentrated like that, it heats up to close to boiling temperatures and destroys that tissue right there,” says Koch.

The Sonablate provides Dr. Koch with the precision he wants for his patients. Very little healthy tissue is affected.

“You tell the device what area. You circle the entire area you want to treat and it just methodically moves through that area and destroys all that area.”

HIFU can kill cancer cells. But the big question for men: are there side effects?

“With this particular technology, you’re only treating part of the prostate. The risk of impotence and the loss of urine control is much reduced, compared to treating the entire prostate.”

In the meantime, Koch recommends all older men get checked for their prostate health and have a PSA test done. And he’s happy he can provide this treatment for his patients, for whom it’s recommended.

For more on HIFU click here.

4 Your Health is presented by American Senior Communities

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