1. What is the prostate?
The prostate is a small gland that is part of the male reproductive
system. A normal, healthy prostate is about the size and shape
of a walnut. Its position in the body is just below the bladder
and in front of the rectum. The urethra- the tube that carries
urine from the bladder and semen out through the penis- runs through
the center of the prostate. The function of the prostate is to
produce some of the seminal fluid that nourishes and carries sperm
from the testicles and out of the penis during ejaculation. Because
of its position an enlarged prostate can squeeze the urethra causing
2. What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in men, and
is the second leading cause of cancer death in men after lung
cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 230,900
new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed in the United States
every year. Before the introduction of the PSA (prostate specific
antigen) test 75% of prostate cancer patients were diagnosed in
the later, incurable stages, now only about 25% of newly diagnosed
cases are advanced cancer.
3. Where does prostate cancer
As the prostate grows, it grows through the prostate, the prostate
capsule and the fat that surround the prostate. It can also grow
into the base of the bladder and into the seminal vesicles which
are located adjacent to the prostate. The spread of cancer is
known as metastasis. When cancer spreads outside of the capsule
it usually goes to either the lymph nodes or the bones.
4. What options do I have
for treating prostate cancer?
There are a number of different options for how prostate cancer
can be treated, each has its own risks and benefits. Primarily
patients chose between watchful waiting, surgery, and different
types of radiation therapy. New emerging prostate cancer treatments
such as HIFU are becoming increasingly popular because they are
non invasive and preserve patient quality of life. Please read
more about treatment options here. Learn more about prostate cancer
5. Why are regular prostate
check ups important?
Early prostate cancer has very symptoms, so it can only be found
through routine screening. As men get older, especially over the
age of 50, it is very important to be tested and to identify any
abnormalities. Not all prostate problems are cancer, but prostate
cancer is the most serious problem. Some prostate cancers are
small and/or slow and do not progress beyond the prostate gland.
Some are more aggressive and advanced. Treatment is more successful
if it is begun when the cancer is still small and has not spread
beyond the prostate gland.
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Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia(BPH):
1. What is BPH?
BPH, or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia is an enlargement of the
prostate that is common in men over the age of 50. It is not cancer
and is not malignant. If the prostate gets too big it can put
pressure on the urethra and bladder, causing problems with urination.
2. Can BPH be treated with
High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)?
Absolutely. The Sonablate® 500 is an acoustic ablation device
that is used for the treatment of BPH and prostate cancer. It
is a non invasive procedure that can be done usually in one hour
for most BPH cases. Several studies have been published on results
of using HIFU to treat BPH. You can read more by visiting the
clinical data section. Learn more.
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HIFU & The
1. What is the history of
HIFU and how long has it been done?
Research on HIFU actually began in the 1950s at Indiana University.
In 1994, the first human prostate cancer study was done by Dr.
Marberger and Madersbacher at the Univ. of Vienna in Austria using
the now Sonablate® 200 treating 29 human prostates in vivo
shortly before performing a radical prostatectomy. The goal was
to see if the energy delivered was enough to destroy the desired
tissue. Study found that treatment could be performed safely and
could be repeated. In 1995, a study done at IU that showed that
the whole prostate could be treated without damaging the prostate
capsule or the rectal wall. In 1999, Dr. Toyaki Uchida began treating
patients using the Sonablate® 200. In 2001, Sonablate®
500 receives CE mark from Europe and the first patient in the
study was treated at IU by Dr. M. Koch. In 2004, USHIFU was created
and has placed machines in Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, South Africa
and the Caribbean. Currently there are nearly 100 Sonablate®
500 HIFU centers worldwide on six continents. There are over 150
physicians using the Sonablate® 500 worldwide and over 5,000
total procedures have been completed with the Sonablate®.
2. Where can I find HIFU
data and statistics?
To read clinical papers, abstracts and data visit our clinical
data section where you can download the latest published data
and reports. Learn more about the Benefits of HIFU with the Sonablate®
3. Does HIFU only treat
the cancerous cells or does it ablate the entire prostate?
HIFU treated the entire prostate by targeting tissue in six overlapping
treatment zones. The tissue is heated rapidly in small lesion
until eventually the entire prostate is ablated. By treating the
entire prostate gland, the chance for recurrence, or the cancer
coming back is minimized. All the organs and tissue outside of
the prostate remain unaffected during HIFU.
4. If the entire prostate is treated,
does that include the urethra? What happens to the uretha? is
The urethra consists of different anatomical segments. From the
tip of the penis to the base of the bladder: the fossa navicularis,
the pendulous urethra, the membranous urethra and the prostatic
urethra. During HIFU, the entire prostate is ablated, including
the prostatic urethra, as it can have cancerous cells in it. In
doing so the end result is an empty cavity that acts like a conduit
during normal urination. However, the urethra is derived from
a different type of tissue (derived from the bladder squamous
type epithelium) vs. prostatic tissue (glandular, fibrotic and
muscular) and regenerates/re-epithelializes with time. The sphincter
and bladder neck are the vital structures with respect to maintenance
of urinary function NOT the urethra. These vital structures are
not affected or harmed during HIFU.
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