MIAMI (Ivanhoe Newswire/WTVM) - A treatment that can remove prostate cancer while still preserving a man's quality of life is now available in the United States for the first time ever. It's called high-intensity focused ultrasound, or HIFU.
There's no hospital stay, no knife, almost no down time and few side effects.
Paul Feltman has a family history of cancer. So it was no surprise when he got prostate cancer. But he was as afraid of the treatment as he was of the disease.
Feltman says, "The biggest fears for any man who's going to have the procedure are problems with incontinence and erectile dysfunction."
Those side effects are not uncommon so Feltman opted for HIFU. It's a precise, non-invasive therapy that uses ultrasound to target cancer cells without damaging surrounding healthy tissues.
Dr. George Suarez, an urologist in Miami began using the HIFU procedure after seeing the aftermath of traditional treatment; impotence and incontinence.
"The patients do not want to go outside their homes; the depression is overwhelming," Dr. Suarez says.
Dr. Suarez said with HIFU, the chance of impotence is just two percent compared to 80 percent with traditional treatment and just one percent for incontinence instead of 20 percent.
At the time he needed it, HIFU wasn't approved in the U.S, so Feltman traveled to Dr. Suarez's clinic in Mexico.
A few days later, he was back to his normal routine.
It's been 8 years since Feltman had the procedure and tests show his prostate cancer has not come back. HIFU can be repeated in patients whose cancer does recur. Just last fall, the FDA approved HIFU for use in the United States.