New Prostate Cancer Treatment Cuts Side Effects With Ultrasound Therapy

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April 17 2012 1:17 PM

New Prostate Cancer Treatment Cuts Side Effects With Ultrasound Therapy

We always knew nice sounds were good for us, and now we have more proof. Scientists say a promising new ultrasound treatment could fight prostate cancer while limiting or even eliminating side effects from more traditional therapies.

The medical journal Lancet Oncology released a 41-patient study that suggests high-intensity focused ultrasounds could reduce urinal incontinence and impotence—two typical side effects of prostate cancer treatment—by emitting sound waves that heat targeted cells, causing minimal damage to surrounding tissue.

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While the results are encouraging, researchers stressed the need for further testing. Owen Sharp, chief executive of the Prostate Cancer Charity, told the BBC, "This treatment was given to fewer than 50 men, without follow-up over a sustained period of time." 

Still, the results are encouraging and further trials could make the focal therapy a regular part of prostate cancer treatment.

Video produced by Jim Festante.

Ben Johnson is the producer of Marketplace Tech from American Public Media.