A game changer: Non-invasive prostate cancer treatment gives men new option in their fight

(BPT) - For men looking to treat prostate cancer while continuing to live a full, busy life, a new option is now available, even though the key is still early detection.

Routine PSA (prostate-specific antigen) tests are strongly recommended in men between the ages of 55 and 69 with recent research showing that deaths from prostate cancer have decreased by 30% since the PSA test became commonly available.

So what happens if doctors do find something? Up until now, men diagnosed with prostate cancer had two basic options: surgery or radiation. Now comes a groundbreaking third option called the TULSA procedure. This procedure doesn’t make a single incision and is for use in men with prostate cancer that has not spread beyond the prostate. This option is also available for elderly men and individuals previously treated with radiation, but where the cancer reoccurred.

Dr. Edward Steiner, Chairman of Imaging and a WellSpan Health interventional radiologist, performs the TULSA (short for transurethral ultrasound ablation) procedure using a robotic-guided instrument to obliterate the tumor and cancer-damaged prostate with MRI imaging.

“I’m tremendously excited. I think this is one of the most significant innovations in the care for prostate cancer in the last 30 years,” Steiner said. “This is going to be a mainstay option in the treatment of prostate cancer.”

Nearly 3 million men in the United States are prostate cancer survivors, but often the side effects and complications that come from surgery or radiation treatments can impact quality of life. Erectile dysfunction and incontinence are most common, but they are both greatly reduced with the TULSA procedure because it is not as invasive. Some patients can be discharged on the day of procedure. For others it’s an overnight stay and then home with a catheter for two weeks but they can return to work in just a few days.

WellSpan York Hospital is just one of a handful of sites in the country where the procedure is currently performed, with Dr. Steiner joining peers at Stanford and Yale, among others.

Steiner said medicine requires cutting-edge innovations and services to be able to offer aggressive, ground-breaking procedures such as TULSA-PRO. For prostate cancer, that includes advanced MRI imaging, something Steiner calls “man-o-grams” for men.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men, except for skin cancers, according to the American Cancer Society. The chance of getting prostate cancer increases as a man gets older. Most prostate cancers are found in men over the age of 65. Black men are more likely to develop prostate cancer than men of other races.

“It’s critical men be proactive in their prostate cancer screenings,” said Steiner. “We now have better ways than ever to treat it, but it’s every man’s responsibility to stay on top of it and September being prostate cancer awareness month is an important reminder of that.”

To learn more, visit www.WellSpan.org.

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