Health Beat: HIFU for prostate cancer

MIAMI - By night, Paul Feltman is a musician. By day, he's a prominent Miami attorney.

Feltman also has a family history of cancer, so it was no surprise when he got prostate cancer, but he was as afraid of the treatment as he was of the disease.

"The biggest fears for any man who's going to have the procedure are problems with incontinence and erectile dysfunction," Feltman said.

Those side-effects are not uncommon, so Feltman opted for HIFU. It's a precise, non-invasive therapy that uses ultrasound to target cancer cells without damaging surrounding healthy tissues.

"I thought there has to be a better way. That's got to be something different," said Dr. George Suarez, an urologist in Miami.

Suarez began using the HIFU procedure after seeing the aftermath of traditional treatment; impotence and incontinence.

"The patients do not want to go outside their homes; the depression is overwhelming," Suarez detailed.

With HIFU, Suarez said the chance of impotence is just two percent compared to 80 percent with traditional treatment and just one percent for incontinence instead of 20 percent.

At the time he needed it, HIFU wasn't approved in the United States, so Feltman traveled to Suarez's clinic in Mexico.

A few days later, Feltman was back to playing guitar and back in his band.

It's been eight years since Feltman had the procedure and tests show his prostate cancer has not come back. HIFU can be repeated in patients whose cancer does recur. Just last fall, the FDA approved HIFU for use in the United States.

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