April 15, 2016
Questions to ask your HIFU doctor
A cancer diagnosis is bound to bring about many questions. Vituro Health Medical Director Stephen Scionti, M.D., has been treating prostate cancer patients for more than 25 years and knows many of the questions he will get after diagnosing a patient.
“Patients are barraged by information from their doctors, their loved ones and their own research. It can be confusing,” Scionti said. “Compound that with the many treatment options available to patients, including the recently FDA cleared HIFU therapy, and it is a lot to absorb.”
Dr. Scionti has been performing the highly complex HIFU procedure for more than ten years at the International HIFU Prostate Cancer Centers in the Caribbean and Mexico; he says that with HIFU’s recent FDA clearance, more and more doctors in the U.S. are offering the therapy to their patients without having very much training and frequently not peer-to-peer training.
If you are considering HIFU to treat your prostate cancer and you are not seeing a Vituro doctor, here are some of the questions Dr. Scionti urges you to pose to your HIFU physician:
- Are you board certified? Do you have privileges at the hospitals in the local community so you can provide aftercare?
“This is important because there are urologists who aren’t board certified and can’t go into hospitals in the community,” Scionti says. “Just because they are certified, it does not mean they are highly skilled at HIFU, but it does mean they have passed extensive examinations and have their care evaluated every ten years.”
- How many procedures have you done?
“If it is a new HIFU physician, inquire if they are working with a highly experienced proctor,” Scionti suggests.
- Where did you get your HIFU training?
“Every Vituro physician is mandated to spend time in our Sarasota training center so we can ensure quality by providing them with the common core knowledge required and a rigorous training program,” Scionti explained. “We’re not just installing a machine and asking them to read a book…and sadly that happens and we’re seeing it around the country.”
- Will you do an MRI to locate the exact location of my cancer?
“Your biopsy shows you have cancer, yes, but a great HIFU physician wants to know where the cancerous cells are located on the prostate, how close they are to the capsule and the neurovascular bundles,” Scionti said. “An MRI should be used to design the HIFU treatment to make sure the energy is concentrated in the right place to kill the cancer. There is no substitute for getting good information.”