London: Doctors at University College Hospital in London are trialling a new soundwave device that zaps cancer tissue, avoding the need for surgery.
The device, by Misonix and Focus Surgery, works by heating the tissue up and because it be used accurately it only kills the area of localised cancer rather than the whole gland.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men – roughly one in thirteen develop the disease which usually affects older men. Current treatments such as radical surgery and chemotherapy have unpleasant side effects including impotence, incontinence and severe pain. It is hoped that treatment with ultrasoundwaves will avoid these.
The high-energy ultrasound waves can be focused with extraordinary precision on the location, and delivery of so much energy to such a small area results in a big increase in temperature — up to 90c.
That temperature, sustained for one to four seconds, is enough to kill the cancer tissue. Unlike radiation therapy, ultrasound has no adverse effect on the tissue it passes through to get at the cancer. The treatment takes around three hours, with the patients usually discharged the same or next day.