Focused therapy cuts side effects in treating prostate cancer

Saturday, April 27, 2024
Focused therapy cuts side effects in treating prostate cancer
Focused therapy cuts side effects in treating prostate cancer

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's medical issues last December put the spotlight on fighting prostate cancer while reducing the risk of side effects and complications.

A trial here on a less invasive technique seems to point the way to keep cancer at bay while maintaining a quality of life.

For a decade, prostate cancer has been on the rise, and the incidence is expected to increase even more by 2050.

While it doesn't always endanger men's lives, it can affect their quality of life with incontinence or sexual dysfunction.

Dr. Andres Correa, a urologic oncologist at Fox Chase Cancer Center, says treating the whole prostate when the cancer is isolated raises those risks.

"The goal of focal therapy is to identify those patients that have cancer in a specific place that we can see on the MRI," says Dr. Correa.

Fox Chase has been in nationwide tests of the Nanoknife focal therapy, which uses IRE, an electrical technique, to destroy a tumor, yet leave healthy tissue alone.

So far, no one treated with Nanoknife has had cancer return on that side.

"No patients has had any incontinence," says Dr. Correa.

And any sexual issues have been short-lived.

"After like 6 months or so it seems to be able to wean off the medications," he says.

Dr. Correa says another therapy - high-intensity focused ultrasound or HIFU - is becoming a bigger part of the procedures done at Fox Chase.

"HIFU uses focused ultrasound to hit the tissue, to create that ablation or that destruction of tissue," he explains.

Cryoablation, which uses extreme cold, is a third focal therapy.

The size and location of the cancer determine which is best.

"If you have a large tumor, cryo is probably better than IRE just because it allows you to treat, to get a better, a better treatment zone," he notes.

He urges men to take time to find out what's best for them.

"It's important for someone not to go to the center that just provides one, but a kind of 2 or 3 different tools that can mold to the patient's anatomy and where the cancer is located," says Dr. Correa.

Treatments are evolving quickly, as doctors realize that quality of life is as important as a cure.

"Prostate could be treated very differently in 10 years than it's treated now," he predicts.

Fox Chase now has a Voorhees, New Jersey, office so men in South Jersey can get some of their care closer to home.