University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston is offering a new non-surgical prostate cancer treatment that virtually eliminates the side effects of impotence and incontinence that can occur when patients receive the traditional treatment for prostate cancer – surgical prostate removal.
UTMB’s Chairman of Radiology Dr. Eric Walser is one of only a few physicians in the world and the only physician in Texas who performs this groundbreaking procedure. He uses an MRI to give an accurate picture of where the tumor is, and then he zaps away the cancer with a laser, without removing the prostate. This technique, known as MRI-guided laser ablation, is performed with an instrument developed at UTMB.
In the past, there was no way for doctors to remove prostate cancer without removing the whole prostate gland. This is because imaging technology was not powerful enough to illuminate the cancer and the available laser ablation technology was not focused enough to remove the cancer without damaging surrounding tissue. But in recent years, the technology has improved significantly.
“Our approach pairs the most advanced MRI imaging to identify cancer-suspicious areas in the prostate and the most advanced laser technology to remove them, with virtually no risk of impotence or incontinence,” Walser said.
Walser, who has been performing this procedure for three years, said this new way of treating prostate cancer offers selected men much more peace of mind than active surveillance or watchful waiting, the traditional alternatives to radical treatment.
MRI imaging of the prostate offers a vastly improved method around which to approach treatment. Images of aggressive prostate cancer are distinctly different in most cases from slow-growing prostate cancer. This new ability to actually take pictures over time and see what the prostate cancer looks like and how quickly and how far it is spreading offers patients a new way to make decisions.
NIH-funded clinical trials of the new MRI-guided ablation procedure so far show that it is safe and effective, with new clinical results just published online in the journal Radiology and an ongoing study being conducted at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine.
For those patients whose prostate cancer is large, aggressive or has spread outside of the pelvis, ablation therapy may not be the answer. In those cases, a wide range of minimally invasive surgical options are available for consideration, including advanced robotically assisted laparoscopic prostate removal and focused radiation therapy.
The two main points to take from today’s article are the improved ability to make informed decisions based on the new MRI and a removal option without the complications of incontinence and impotence. Always remember information is power and patient empowerment is key to getting the correct treatment for you.
Sourced from: UTMB at Galveston