Pancreatic Cancer is not usually discovered until it is fairly advanced because of the lack of tell-tale symptoms of the disease. It may well have spread to the pancreas from elsewhere in the body. An advanced and therefore sizeable tumour in the pancreas can cause intense pain and is difficult to treat conventionally. HIFU can be used to treat the tumour and therefore bring relief from the associated pain.
Because the prostate is positioned deep within the pelvis, you have HIFU for prostate cancer by putting an ultrasound probe (transrectal probe) into your back passage (rectum). From that position, the ultrasound can direct beams more accurately at the prostate. Results from trials so far show that HIFU may be as successful in treating prostate cancer as treatment with radical prostatectomy or radiotherapy. But we also have to be sure that the long term results will be as good as surgery or radiotherapy. The treatment hasn’t been around long enough for us to know that yet.
you are invited to go on a trial of HIFU for prostate cancer, your doctors need to make sure you know
- What is involved in having the treatment
- That we don’t know everything about side effects yet
- That we don’t fully understand how long term effects of HIFU compare to other treatments
- What other treatment options there are
Doctors must also monitor all the patients who have HIFU so that we can learn more about side effects and long term benefits or drawbacks. You will sign a consent form to say that all these things have been explained to you before you have the treatment.
A trial is looking at HIFU for newly diagnosed prostate cancer that is contained in just one half of the prostate gland. There is another trial for men with prostate cancer that is contained within the gland, but has started to grow again following radiotherapy. The men on these trials only have HIFU to the area that contains the cancer.