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"What is HIFU?"

ZocdocAnswersWhat is HIFU?


My father has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He is seeking many different treatment paths, including radiation and cryo. He's very healthy (works out regularly), but he also loves to ride his bike. The biopsies came back positive, but only by fractions of a percent, so whatever procedure he chooses will be mostly preventive, it is currently not threatening.


Prostate cancer is a very problematic condition to be diagnosed with, because it is incredibly common, and such a high percentage of patients with prostate cancer will not die from it, but will instead die with it (of some other cause). For that reason, there is no exact science to stating who should be treated and who should be watched and carefully followed up for signs of disease progression. Obviously, the treatment modalities can have many effects on the quality of life for the patient, with many complications occurring because of the important nerves and other anatomical considerations. For that reason, many patients with borderline positive prostate cancer will choose watchful waiting, to see how their disease will progress. Only your father and his surgeon can make that choice, as it is so personal with no perfect answer. Fortunately, there are many treatment options, and the options improve every day. HIFU is short for High Intensity Focused Ultrasound. An ultrasound (similar to the ultrasound that is used to look at babies in utero) is focused on one specific area. Some of the energy is absorbed, and this can be focused to a specific location, without damaging the intervening tissue. The heat created then kills the tissue. Your father should discuss with his urologist if this might be a good option for him.

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