Tulane Medical Center December 09, 2019

Men who have been diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer often face a difficult choice when reviewing their treatment options. Generally, patients must choose between active surveillance – essentially keeping an eye on the cancer to see if it got worse – and aggressive treatments like traditional surgery or radiation, which can have side effects such as urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

Now, thanks to a new treatment offered by Tulane Health System, some men have the option of focal therapy, a targeted treatment that destroys areas of cancer in the prostate while sparing rest of the healthy tissue.

Tulane Health System is the only system offering this treatment in the greater New Orleans region.

“With focal therapy, the cancer can potentially be targeted and treated more effectively in a less-invasive fashion, similar to a lumpectomy to treat breast cancer,” said Dr. Spencer Krane, a urologist at Tulane Health System. “We're thrilled to be able to offer this new technology and service to our community. It's our hope that this will have a significant and positive effect on men's quality of life.”

Focal therapy involves the use of groundbreaking new prostate MRI technology as a guidance tool to pinpoint the cancer. Once the cancer has been localized, physicians use specialized equipment to destroy it by either burning it using focused ultrasound (HIFU) or freezing the cancer (cryotherapy.)

By focusing specifically on the cancer and not the rest of the prostate, physicians are able to preserve the structures next to the prostate that are important for urinary and sexual function. The goal of focal therapy is to destroy small tumors within the prostate while leaving the remainder of the gland intact.

Focal therapy may not be the best course of treatment for all cases, but it is just one of several treatment options available throughout Tulane Health System. If you'd like to learn more about all Tulane Health System prostate cancer treatment options, please contact the Tulane Multidisciplinary Prostate Cancer Clinic at (504) 988-2342.