What is focal therapy?

Focal therapy for the targeted destruction of early prostate cancer was until recently only a concept, but now thanks to the development of a number of technological advances it is a reality.
With the increasing use of the PSA blood test and raised awareness about prostate cancer, an increasing proportion of men now diagnosed with prostate cancer have early or low risk cancer, which is unlikely ever to be lethal. Focal therapy represents the opportunity to selectively destroy cancerous area within the prostate gland without having to completely remove the prostate gland and is an attractive alternative to doing monitoring or surveillance.

Many men struggle to make a decision when faced with the options , namely radical treatment to remove the whole prostate gland, radical radiotherapy or active surveillance (monitoring).

The options therefore have until recently been at opposite ends of a spectrum; either radical surgery or radiotherapy to remove or destroy the prostate gland, or go on to a program of continued monitoring which for many men is something that does not rest easy.
Almost half of men now being diagnosed with prostate cancer have low risk prostate cancer.
This is largely because prostate cancers are being detected earlier due to increased awareness and use of the PSA blood test. These low risk cancers are very likely to be confined to the prostate gland and are very slow growing extremely unlikely to be lethal in the long term. One of the problems of conventional treatments is that they often ‘over treat’ the condition and can cause harmful side–effects. Focal therapy is feasible using any of a number of technologies but currently the technique currently leading the way is called HIFU (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound).