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New ‘focal therapy’ is a game-changer for prostate cancer patients, says Prost8 charity
A NEW treatment for prostate cancer in men has been hailed as a game changer by a UK charity.
Focal therapy – also known as focal ablative salvage therapy or FAST – uses heat generated by ultrasound to target cancerous tissue, whilst avoiding risk of horrific side effects.
The treatment is available via the NHS, but prostate cancer charity Prost8 says greater awareness of the procedure is needed in order to ensure men do not miss out on the benefits.
Prost8 founder Paul Sayer (pictured above with wife Cindy) who himself underwent the treatment, said: “Focal therapy is a game-changer, but sadly very few men with prostate cancer in the UK have been told about the treatment because it’s so new. It’s been shown to be a safe and effective way of treating prostate cancer without risking severe side effects.
Paul added: “In my case, there would have been a very high chance of incontinence and other undesirable consequences with traditional treatment options like radiotherapy. There needs to be greater awareness, both publicly and within the medical profession, about the fact that focal therapy is available on the NHS.”
Mr Sayer spoke out after new research by Imperial College London found that three out of four patients who received focal therapy had their cancer controlled, without the need for hormones, drugs or invasive surgery.
The treatment could benefit 10,000 men at any time with recurrent prostate cancer, as well as a further 12,000 per year with early stage prostate cancer.
The study by Imperial College London is the largest of its kind and included 356 men from across the UK whose cancer had returned after initially being treated with radiotherapy, a problem experienced by one in seven patients.
Prostate cancer did not progress after six years in three quarters of the men in the study, and less than one in a hundred experienced significant complications.
Side effects associated with traditional treatments for prostate cancer can include risk of permanent incontinence, heart disease and sexual dysfunction.
Focal therapy typically uses High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) to heat cancerous tissue, although in some cases it may instead use cryotherapy to freeze the disease.
The research by Imperial College London was presented ahead of a virtual meeting of the International American Society of Oncology which was held in May 2020.
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