Cancer prostate.

Prostate cancer is considered highly treatable but the therapy does have side effects. Are there any alternatives?

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. In Germany, around 170 in every 100,000 men are diagnosed with carcinoma of the prostate each year. Risk factors include age, certain lifestyles and diets, as well as a family history of the disease. Testosterone or frequent sexual intercourse do not affect the risk of prostate cancer, as was previously thought. [1] But what actually is prostate cancer? Prostate cancer occurs when the cells in the prostate gland divide uncontrollably or change abnormally.

As the disease advances, these cells can invade healthy tissue and develop metastases in other parts of the body. There are several treatment options available for prostate cancer.

Standard therapies for prostate cancer and their side effects

Common treatment methods include active surveillance, surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and hormone therapy. With the exception of active surveillance, these therapy options can be associated with a range of side effects. For example, they can lead to impotence and incontinence, which causes considerable distress to many men diagnosed with prostate cancer. Medical research is therefore increasingly focusing on alternative treatments that firstly remove the prostate cancer more gently or render it harmless locally, and secondly minimize impact on the function of nearby organs. These alternatives include treatment with high-intensity ultrasound, which is currently being used at University Hospital Cologne and the ALTA Clinic in Bielefeld, Germany.

TULSA treatment with high-intensity ultrasound for prostate cancer — what does this involve?

What exactly is TULSA? The procedure known as TULSA combines precise MRI imaging with gentle treatment using high-intensity ultrasound. During the procedure, the temperature is monitored and adapted automatically, and the therapy can be controlled accurately and effectively. The prostate tissue is targeted precisely and is killed by heating the tissue using ultrasound. To do this, a special probe is inserted through the urethra. The advantage of this method is that the rectum, urethral sphincter and erectile nerves can be potentially better protected in comparison with conventional therapies. The procedure can be used in patients with localized, low and intermediate risk prostate cancer.

[1] Deutsche Krebshilfe (German Cancer Aid): https://www.krebshilfe.de/informieren/ueber-krebs/haeufige-krebsarten/prostatakrebs/wie-entsteht-prostatakrebs/, accessed on 08/22/2018

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