January 25, 2016
Why choose HIFU?
In search of the best treatment for your prostate cancer? Have questions about HIFU and if it is right for you? If you were to ask Vituro Health Medical Director Stephen Scionti, M.D., the leading U.S. HIFU expert, he would tell you the answer is simple.
“When a patient asks me why they should go with HIFU, I start by telling them that the way we treat their cancer is not necessarily going to cure it any better,” Scionti says. “No published studies have produced a head to head comparison of any treatment, so we don’t know if one route is going to have a better cure rate over any other treatment.”
Scionti says surgery, radiation, cryotherapy and other prostate cancer treatments are all relevant, but a patient should not be pushed or rushed towards a certain choice.
“Patients get caught in a statistical war where doctors play tug of war with them and use fear – they say ‘if we don’t operate on you the cancer will worsen, so we have to schedule you for a radical prostatectomy right away,’ and it scares them,” Scionti says. “This is scientifically invalid; there is no evidential basis for those statements.”
The decision, Scionti says, will not necessarily determine longevity.
“Really, it becomes decisions about quality of life. HIFU gives a patient the best chance of getting rid of their cancer and at the same time provides them with an unchanged quality of life; what other pathway or treatment can do that?” Scionti asks. “Because we have the ability to properly identify where the tumor is and to avoid critical structures in a precise manner, we have a very low side effect profile which means that men can maintain their quality of life.”
To help show patients exactly what he means, Scionti says during a consultation, he puts their MRI up and shows them where the tumor is, and how HIFU can treat the exact spot, rather than destroy or take out the whole prostate.
“I show them nerve bundles and structures. This is the only treatment where I can treat the exact spot,” Scionti says. “The consultation is more about education and trying to find out what the patient is thinking and what choice they want to make.”
When asking whether or not you should choose HIFU, Scionti says simply: “If quality of life is driving your decision, then you’re going to be highly interested.”