NCMA’s Dr. Michael Lazar of California HIFU discusses the latest research on prostate cancer and provides insight into the importance of early detection and the newest treatment options
When it comes to prostate cancer and knowing when to get a checkup, the standard for recommendations are all over the board. New research suggests that avoiding the issue altogether is not a good option for any man, particularly for those with prostate cancer running in the family. “Screening is simple process that allows us to look for cancer before any symptoms become obvious to the patient,” explains Dr. Michael Lazar, HIFU Prostate Services Medical Director. “This process can help us discover the cancer at an earlier stage while the patient has the opportunity to take advantage of newer, less invasive options for treating prostate cancer.”
Swedish researchers this month released findings on a study involving 50,000 men — all brothers of men diagnosed with prostate cancer. The study was to determine the prostate cancer risk to men with a family history of the disease. Although the study made the distinction of determining whether men with a family history of aggressive cancer were more at risk than those whose relatives had a less progressive form (referred to as “indolent” in the study), they discovered that the odds were about the same for both groups.
Ultimately, findings revealed that in men who had both a father and a brother with prostate cancer of either variety, the risk of developing any form of prostate cancer was nearly 50 percent. Bottom line according to researchers, “… is that men whose father or brother have an indolent, untreated prostate cancer are probably not aware that this also increases their own risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer.”
According to the American Cancer Society men are best advised to check with their healthcare provider about when or whether to be tested for prostate cancer. They recommend that men should not be tested without first learning about the risks and possible benefits of testing and treatment. The turning point for serious consideration is for men around 50 years of age, so they can determine for themselves if testing is the right choice. Men who have a father or brother who had prostate cancer prior to the age 65 should get with a healthcare provider sooner.
Education is vital to taking advantage of new treatment options
Prostate cancer is the leading solid organ cancer in the U.S. and the second most common cause of cancer related death. Many prostate cancers can be managed conservatively, particularly in elderly men. But larger tumors, those with higher Gleason score and rising PSA levels should be treated more aggressively — particularly in younger men who fit this profile. Prostate cancer is usually managed with an attitude of active surveillance followed by options include; radiation therapy, surgery to remove the cancerous gland, freezing (cryotherapy), or high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU).
HIFU is the newest FDA-approved non-invasive treatment for prostate cancer which uses ultrasound energy or sound waves, to heat and destroy specifically targeted areas of tissue. During HIFU the sound waves pass through healthy tissue without causing damage. However, at the focal point of the sound waves (like a magnifying glass focusing the rays of the sun), the tissue temperature is raised to 90 degrees Celsius, destroying the targeted cancerous tissue.
“HIFU is most effective for men who have early stage, localized prostate cancer that has not spread or metastasized outside the prostate,” explains Dr. Lazar. “Many patients who have had radiation therapy, brachytherapy or external beam radiation and experience a rise in PSA have discovered that the cancer is back. These patients may also be candidates for HIFU as long as the cancer has not spread to the bone or other organs.”
About Dr. Lazar and California HIFU
Dr. Michael Lazar, a Santa Rosa urologist and prostate cancer expert, is the only Northern California physician recognized as a leader in the use of high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) for prostate cancer. He has been successfully treating patients with HIFU since 2007. Dr. Lazar formed California HIFU in order to offer minimally invasive prostate cancer treatment to men with the Sonablate.
For more information about HIFU treatment which is now available in San Francisco, or to make an appointment call: 707-546-5553. Visit us online to learn more at: www.californiahifu.com.