A REVOLUTIONARY new prostate treatment is being launched across the UK, with nine hospitals set to offer a non-invasive option to prevent thousands of men being left with the grueling side effects of surgery.
Each year, up to 12,000 men with early-stage prostate cancer receive the same invasive treatment as men with advanced cancer, which often causes urinary and erectile dysfunction.
But a new focal therapy, which uses highly focused ultrasound beams (HIFU) or cryotherapy to target and treat the cancer while leaving surrounding organs and tissues unharmed, promises to offer a new lifeline.
With three hospitals currently offering the treatment in the UK, a new campaign has been launched to triple the number of hospital units offering the non-invasive option and give thousands of men access to better treatment.
The One in Eight campaign by Prost8 – a charity that fights to make overtreatment a thing of the past and which was set up to give one in eight men diagnosed with less aggressive prostate cancer access to better treatment – aims also looking to put pressure on the NHS to encourage them to adopt the non-invasive options for eligible men.
The launch of the campaign coincides with the results of a 10-year study that found that focal therapy can control cancer just as well as radical surgery, but importantly has better lifestyle outcomes.
Professor Hashim Ahmed, Chair of Urology at Imperial College London, who led the UK study of focal therapy, said: “This research signals a major breakthrough for focal therapy – as we now have long-term data from a range of sectors, surgeons and hospitals across the UK.
“The treatment, which could be available to nearly 12,000 men diagnosed each year with intermediate-grade cancer that has not spread outside the prostate, shows excellent results for cancer control with better quality of life.
“Men have a right to be treated on site – this is a national health service.
“It is crucial that men are given options and the ability to receive the best treatment available and Prost8’s ONE in EIGHT campaign will make that possible.
“Prost8 is extremely valuable as we need a charity focused on this treatment.
“Equally important, the few hospitals currently offering this treatment are not coping – we need more hospitals, we need more surgeons, we need more capacity.
“Many charities focus on survival at all costs – and while Prost8 does not disparage this aspect, they want to treat the cancer, they recognize that the quality of life is just as important as the quantity of life.”
“Bringing more focal therapy units into our hospitals shows that we recognize that how you get there is just as important as whether you get there.”
Professor Ahmed revealed private options are available but it costs each patient between £12,000 and £16,000 – which can be very limiting.
Prost8, the charity leading the rollout, was founded by Paul Sayer after receiving HIFU from Professor Ahmed three years ago.
Paul, 66, said: “People don’t realize there are other forms of non-invasive treatment that can help you live longer and better after a prostate cancer diagnosis.
“I went in as a day case, had the treatment over an hour and a half, came out with a catheter which was soon removed and that was it.
“I’ve just had my three-year check-up and it’s perfectly clear.
“Before I had prostate cancer, I never got up at night to pee and I still don’t.
“This treatment allowed me to still be me. I have no change in functionality.
“As a charity we are currently helping about 50 men access this treatment, as in almost every case when men speak to their counselor about their treatment – focal therapy is not offered as an option and only through word of mouth or research do we find it.
“I’ve had conversations with guys that I’m in tears and they burst into tears – these are tough conversations and they need to know they have a great option at their disposal.
“The campaign is a very low request to make such an important change and create a lasting legacy.”
The NHS is currently offering surgery, radiotherapy or hormone treatments and for many men they are being sent home under “active surveillance” – effectively a watch and wait process.
I went in as a day case, had the treatment for over an hour and a half, came out with a catheter which was soon removed and that was it.
Hospitals currently offering the treatment include Imperial College, University College London Hospital and Southampton.
The new rollout will expand the Southampton unit as well as create new focus therapy suites in Wrexham, Norwich, Norfolk, Scotland and London’s Guys and St Thomas’ and others nationwide.
Deploying the focal therapy suites will cost up to £500,000 each – as Prost8’s campaign aims to raise £3m to launch phase one.
With one in eight men diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, Prost8 is calling on one in eight of the adult male population (24 million) or their loved ones to donate at least £1, which will help raise the £3 million needed for the six suites.
Grant Gooding was just 58 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and only found out about focal therapy after posting his diagnosis on social media.
He said: “I had elevated PSA levels and then the MRI scan showed shadows – they gave me a whole bunch of leaflets about prostate cancer and what to do about it.
“There were five pathways – one was surgery, three were some form of radiation therapy and the fifth was what they call ‘active surveillance’.
“I posted about my diagnosis on social media and asked if anyone had recommendations for treatment – I started talking to a lot of different men about the options and was surprised at how many had and the experiences they had.
“I was also introduced to Paul at the Prost8 charity.”
Grant, who worked as an analyst in London, added: “I had a spreadsheet with different tabs going through the different pathways and outcomes, which was difficult to analyze – HIFU, which was one of the treatments, really seems to be the better treatment because of side effects.”
Grant helped Paul and his team at Prost8 access the treatment and had it in September last year.
The father-of-one shared how he supports the campaign now that his life has been completely unchanged following treatment, and is particularly “grateful” to Prost8 for highlighting the treatment for him.
Go here to donate to Prost8’s 1 in 8 campaign.
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https://www.the-sun.com/health/5296114/prostate-cancer-treatment-uk/ Revolutionary non-invasive prostate cancer treatment has been rolled out across the UK to treat thousands