Focal Therapy Treatment
High-intensity focused ultrasound
As the region’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, The University of Kansas Cancer Center offers the most advanced treatments and technologies. This includes high-intensity focused ultrasound for prostate cancer.
HIFU is a type of minimally invasive focal therapy that uses the energy of sound waves to heat and destroy cancer cells in prostate tumors that have not spread. The University of Kansas Cancer Center is the first and only in the region to offer this advanced technology for prostate cancer treatment.
Typically, when the cancer is confined to the prostate gland, the chief treatment options are active surveillance, surgery and radiation. Active surveillance, also known as watchful waiting, can cause anxiety, frustration and emotional or physical stress. But surgery and radiation often lead to side effects, such as urinary incontinence and sexual problems, that can reduce quality of life. HIFU is now a treatment option available as part of our comprehensive prostate cancer program.
Because of the precise targeting capabilities HIFU offers, we can precisely destroy targeted prostate tissue while preserving the rest of the gland and avoid damage to the erectile nerves and urinary sphincter. Clinicians cite up to 90% preservation of potency and similar preservation of continence. This means patients can be confident in the ability to maintain an erection for sexual intercourse and maintain urinary control.
HIFU is an outpatient procedure that takes between 45 minutes and 2 hours to perform, so patients can expect to return to their normal activities within a few days.
What is high-intensity focused ultrasound?
HIFU destroys cancerous prostate tissue by focusing heated high-intensity ultrasound waves on the affected area. We use MRI scans to aid in directing the sound waves at the tumor. Focused ultrasound creates heat similarly to how heat is created when rays of sunlight pass through a magnifying glass, becoming concentrated at a single point and causing a significant rise in temperature. With HIFU, the localized heating kills the cancer cells without damaging the healthy surrounding tissue.
Who can have high-intensity focused ultrasound?
Ideal candidates for HIFU are men with organ-confined and early-stage prostate cancer; however, the decision to pursue HIFU is complex and our comprehensive team works to determine who is appropriate for this treatment. We accept patient self-referrals, provider referrals and requests for second opinions. Contact our prostate cancer nurse navigator team to see if HIFU is right for you.
How does high-intensity focused ultrasound work?
High-intensity focused ultrasound uses an ultrasound probe to deliver high-intensity sound waves at a precise point. The magnitude of ultrasound energy delivered rapidly raises the temperature at the focal point, killing cancerous prostate cells by stopping the blood flow that feeds the cells. HIFU does this without damaging healthy prostate tissue and structures outside the targeted area.
- Imaging of the prostate: We use the transrectal ultrasound imaging probe to scan the entire prostate and the images are displayed on the instrument’s screen as a 3D reconstruction of the tissue to be removed.
- Prostate treatment planning: From the instrument’s screen, your urologic oncologist plans each step of the procedure, precisely targeting the tissue to be removed.
- HIFU energy delivery: The system automatically determines the optimal number of lesions based on the planning and produces HIFU waves to destroy the targeted cells.
Benefits of high-intensity focused ultrasound
HIFU is the ideal treatment to remove the diseased part of the prostate to preserve your quality of life. It is the latest treatment option using focal therapy to treat prostate cancer. The real-time imaging allows for precise local tissue removal in 1 session under general anesthesia, repeatable, if necessary, with a low risk of side effects.
- Noninvasive procedure with no blade, scar, radiation or incision.
- Low risk of side effects, such as incontinence and erectile dysfunction.
- Helps maintain quality of life as an outpatient procedure with minimal time away from work and leisure activities.
What happens after high-intensity focused ultrasound?
At the end of your procedure, we place a temporary catheter to lessen the risk of urinary retention due to potential swelling and discharge you to return home. At your first follow-up visit a few days later, we remove the catheter. Your follow-up visits with your urologic oncologist will include PSA testing at 3 months, 6 months and 1 year, as well as an MRI and a possible biopsy at 1 year to evaluate your result.
Why choose us
The University of Kansas Cancer Center, the region’s only NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center, is the first and only in the region to offer high-intensity focused ultrasound. Our nationally renowned physicians offer the latest and most advanced treatments and technologies in the fight against cancer. Patients treated at NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers have a 25% greater chance of survival compared to other cancer centers.
Our urologic leaders occupy national committee roles and leadership positions in premier urologic professional associations, including the American Urologic Association. Our urologists consistently receive one of the highest patient satisfaction scores at 95%, as reported by Press Ganey.