Prostate cancer sufferers have been given new hope thanks to ground-breaking work from Basingstoke medics.
High intensity focussed ultrasound (HIFU) treatment – a new way of treating the disease that affects one in eight men – is being put through clinical trials at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital.
This differs from conventional cancer treatment because it focuses specifically on the cancerous area and causes minimal damage.
“HIFU has altered the way we treat prostate cancer and this will continue to change dramatically over the next few years as a result of these clinical trials,” said Richard Hindley, consultant urological surgeon, who helped pioneer the technology.
“Focal therapy allows us to selectively destroy the cancerous area within the prostate gland without having to completely remove the whole gland and is an attractive alternative to active monitoring and radical treatments in appropriately selected patients.”
As a result of this, there are minimal side effects and patients can return to normal activities because there is no collateral damage that radiation based-treatments give off, according to Mr Hindley.
He continued: “It is my impression that things are really improving at quite a rapid speed in the field of prostate cancer diagnostics and treatment.
“With that, I have little doubt that we’ll see an improvement in outcomes in the longer term.”
Philippa Aslet, associate director of nursing, said that thanks to HIFU, they were seeing fewer patients with problems around their continence or urinary symptoms, improving their quality of life as a result.
The Pelican cancer foundation paid for the initial HIFU equipment and continue to fund one of the clinical trials.
Sarah Crane, chief executive of Pelican, said: “This charity has been delighted to support the HIFU therapy at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital since it was introduced, and we continue to provide funding for one of the ongoing clinical trials.
“We believe this research will be invaluable for the continuing development of prostate cancer treatment in the future.”