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New Prostate Cancer Treatment Option Available Soon at LVHN

Focal One’s® high-intensity focused ultrasound is effective, with low side-effects risk

Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) will be the first in Pennsylvania to offer a noninvasive, state-of-the-art prostate cancer treatment that precisely targets the disease with a low risk of complications or side effects.

While not a one-size-fits-all option for prostate cancer, the Focal One system uses robotic-assisted high-intensity focused ultrasound to precisely target cancerous growths, while sparing the rest of the organ. It is expected to be available this spring.

Did You Know?

About 288,000 prostate cancer cases are predicted in the U.S. this year.

Aside from non-melanoma skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the U.S. It is also one of the leading causes of cancer death among men of all races. The prostate is part of the male reproductive system.

Urologist Angelo Baccala, MD, Chief, Division of Urology, LVHN, says the incidence of prostate cancer grew 3% a year from 2014-19, reversing a period of decline. Pennsylvania is in the top five states for prostate cancer, and 288,000 cases are predicted in the U.S. this year.

“The option of using Focal One will depend on the location and quantity of the prostate cancer,” Baccala says.

About Focal One

High-intensity focused ultrasound is a noninvasive and effective option for prostate cancer  treatment that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in the U.S. since 2015.

Offering a low occurrence of side effects, it uses an ultrasound probe to scan your prostate and deliver high-intensity sound waves to a targeted area – similar to how a magnifying glass can focus light rays to burn a leaf.

“We want men to know they have a world-class partner in LVHN, with the best treatment options right here, close to home.” – Angelo Baccala, MD

The probe is inserted into the rectum and doesn’t require an incision. The magnitude of ultrasound energy delivered rapidly raises the temperature at the focal point, causing cell damage and cell death, without damaging healthy tissue and structures outside the targeted area.

Patients get:

  • Quality-of-life preservation
  • Low risk of side effects such as incontinence or erectile dysfunction
  • Precise robotic targeting of prostate tissue with real-time ultrasound monitoring
  • Less time away from work and leisure activity

You’re typically discharged shortly after the procedure, but it will be necessary for someone to accompany you because the procedure is conducted under general or spinal anesthesia.

Prostate options

Action on prostate problems traditionally follows three paths, Baccala says: surveillance, active monitoring, and treatment when necessary. Certain prostate cancers won’t ever require treatment, which traditionally includes surgery and radiation. In addition to imaging, urologists also use genetics – DNA extracted from tumor tissue – to determine a patient’s risk level. “The genetic component is important,” Baccala says.

Focal One adds another treatment option but isn’t expected to become the dominant treatment choice. “It’s not for everyone, but if it’s not right for you, we will find the best and most effective treatment for your specific situation,” Baccala says. “There are a lot of options. You may not need treatment. There are better alternatives now that may not even require cutting.”

Men should know their family history of prostate cancer, and Baccala urges them not to be afraid to talk about the issue. “The earlier you get tested, the more options you have, and a lot of options carry very low side effects.”

Most prostate surgery today is robotically assisted, Baccala says. LVHN features single-port robotic surgery (one incision), which is minimally invasive, and patients go home the same day. Single-port prostate surgery is not available at many other health networks in the region, Baccala says.

“Men’s urologic issues in general, and prostate issues in particular, are getting a lot more attention today, and that’s a good thing,” Baccala says. “We want men to know they have a world-class partner in LVHN, with the best treatment options right here, close to home.” 

Focal One offers a noninvasive option that destroys targeted tissue while minimizing side effects.

Focal One® Prostate Cancer Treatment

If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, you may benefit from Focal One high-intensity focused ultrasound treatment at Lehigh Valley Institute for Surgical Excellence. Focal One offers a noninvasive option that destroys targeted tissue while minimizing side effects.

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