For the appropriate candidates, focal therapies can provide the right balance between mitigating symptoms and monitoring the any progression of cancer.
- Side effects are less severe: The risk of erectile dysfunction, incontinence and other side effects are almost zero.
- Recovery is shorter. As an outpatient procedure, you’re only given a light anesthetic and you can go home the same day. You can return to work within 3 days, without the catheter.
- Second line treatment options are still available: If focal therapy fails (meaning the cancer continues to grow), you can still undergo surgery or radiation therapy or a repeated focal therapy. On the other hand, if surgery fails (the cancer returns or metastasizes), you can only resort to radiation. If you have radiation and the cancer recurs, you can no longer have surgery and you are usually treated with chemical castration. When surgery or radiation fails, some patients may have focal therapies if scans show a small area of recurrence.
There aren’t any research studies that provide a definitive answer. We think it is the Focal Laser Ablation procedure. During the FLA, we constantly monitor all of the sensitive structures (nearby areas that can be damaged with slight changes in temperature), including:
- Temperature of the prostate
- Temperature the nerve bundles
- Temperature of the urethra
- Temperature of the rectum
This ensures that the tumor is precisely ablated without damage to the other sensitive structures. As a side note: FLA was initially invented to treat small brain tumors because of its precision and safety.
Cryotherapy is also safe and effective but less precise which makes it ideal for larger tumors. It has been around the longest and, fortunately, the risk of recurrent cancer after cryotherapy is similar to that of surgery. While Wavelength Medical focuses on FLA, we are also experts in cryo-therapies within the MRI environment. Reach out to us and we can find the right treatment for your tumor. Cryotherapy requires an overnight stay in the hospital while FLA is done as an outpatient.