Cancer, whatever be the severity, is a condition that everyone is scared of. In prostate cancer, the patients showing signs of localized spread were often advised with two significant routes of treatment – watchful waiting or treating localized cancer with radiation and surgery.
Focal therapy in 2021 offers a mid-ground treatment option to the patients. Using any of the types of available focal therapy for prostate cancer treatment helps keep the gland’s functions intact while simultaneously treating cancer.
If you have been curious about the therapy and the overall treatment options involved, we hope this article gives you all the answers you are looking for.
Table of Contents
Feel free to skip ahead if one topic catches your eye
- Focal Therapy for Prostate Cancer: What is Focal Therapy?
- What are the Benefits of Focal Therapy?
- What to Expect After the Treatment?
- What is the Cost of Focal Therapy in India?
- Why do People Prefer India for Focal Therapy for Prostate Cancer?
1. Focal Therapy for Prostate Cancer: What is Focal Therapy?
The primary objective behind focal therapy for prostate cancer is to kill two birds with one stone. These treatments ensure to restore the normal functions of the prostate gland while getting rid of the cancerous cells.
The therapy is often advised in patients with localized prostate cancer with low to medium aggressiveness. The procedure emphasizes removing the “index lesion” or the cancerous tumor growths in the prostate that are visible in the MRI.
Controlling the growth and spread of the Index Lesion in the prostate with focal therapy prevents cancer from becoming worse or aggressive in the future.
Remember that focal therapy isn’t a single treatment or procedure but includes a few different types of focal therapy that the patients can choose to undergo. Some of them include:
This is possibly the very first type of focal therapy that was developed for prostate cancer management. The procedure involves freezing (and, in turn, killing) the cancerous cells at -40 degrees Celsius.
The extremely low or freezing temperature causes hypothermia in the cancerous cells, eventually perishing them. The first round of cryotherapy is followed by slow warming and then another blast of cold to tackle the majority (if not all) cancerous cells.
High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU)
Another popular and effective type of focal therapy is HIFU. Unlike cryotherapy that uses cold temperatures, HIFU is the complete opposite. This uses high temperatures over 60 degrees Celsius to kill the cancerous cells in the prostate gland.
The generated heat is relayed in the form of high-energy sound waves or ultrasounds. The surgeons focus a transducer in the prostate gland for precision impacts and effective results.
Irreversible electroporation (IRE)
Using IRE, the oncologists create tiny holes in the prostate’s cancerous cells, which eventually causes them to die. High pulses of electricity are used for this procedure and have a higher success rate. However, since this is a relatively new procedure, it is currently only used for research purposes and hasn’t undergone extensive clinical trials.
If the prostate cancer is limited or localized to the gland and hasn’t widely spread, laser ablation is a viable treatment option. It uses high-energy laser beams to burn the cancerous tissues in the gland and prevent their further spread.
The last type of focal therapy for prostate cancer involves photodynamic therapy. The surgeons target the high-energy laser beams to release the light-activated drugs in the prostate gland that eventually kill all the cancerous cells.
Who is an Ideal Candidate for Focal Therapy for prostate cancer in 2021?
The concept of focal therapy for prostate cancer didn’t come until late 2007. So, the procedures are pretty new and are advised as an alternative to the constant “check-ins” that low-risk patients have to undergo every few months to ensure that their cancer hasn’t taken a turn for the worse.
2. What are the Benefits of Focal Therapy?
Although there are many benefits of focal therapy, which is a pretty new concept for treating prostate cancer in men, the treatment has gained immense popularity given its effectiveness.
Some of the benefits of focal therapy for prostate cancer include:
Although quite common, prostate cancer in most patients is diagnosed at an early stage and is a localized condition that can be treated with focal therapy or regular consultations and management. There are instances where patients have undergone overtreatment for their prostate cancer, including surgical removals, even though their degree of aggressiveness of the cancer cells was pretty low.
Focal therapy offers the patients a bridge between active surveillance and overtreatment. It helps keep your prostate’s functions in check while killing the bulk or all cancerous outgrowth in the gland.
Reduced Side Effects
With prostate cancer, several patients believe that complete surgical removal is their safest bet. While that might be true in severe cases, it is redundant to do in low-risk cases. With focal therapy, you can keep the gland intact, helping contribute to the body’s overall functions that would have been otherwise disturbed if the entire gland was removed surgically.
Improved Quality of Life
Not only do patients have a better quality of life after focal therapy, but studies have also found that it improves the quality of life of the affected patient’s partners too. Since focal therapy has minimal to no alterations in the patient’s sexual or urinary or prostate cancer symptoms, the same contributes to enhanced quality of life.
Radiation, surgery, and other primary treatments for prostate cancer are extremely expensive. On the other hand, focal therapy focuses on treating the root cause of cancer, helping nip it at the bud. And, all of these are done in cost-effective packages, ensuring that you don’t have to worry about paying a hefty hospital bill.
3. What to Expect After the Treatment?
Focal therapy, as convenient and helpful, comes with a few drawbacks too. One of the most common issues is that the treatment can leave behind untreated cancer cells in the prostate gland, which means that the patient will have to be under active surveillance even after the treatment.
As for the recovery after the treatment, the timeline depends on the kind of focal therapy you are undergoing. Generally, the patient can restore their normal activities within a day after the treatment.
However, even after the successful completion of the focal therapy, your oncologist will advise undergoing routine follow-up consultations to check for any complications.
4. What is the Cost of Focal Therapy in India?
The focal therapy cost in India is subjective to the treatment the patient is undergoing. The HIFU treatment is the most common type of focal therapy done in India for prostate cancer, and the rates generally range between INR 5,00,000 to INR 7,00,000.
As for cryotherapy treatments, the costs are subjective and depend on equipment, advanced techniques, and charges levied by the hospital.
Compared to traditional and robotic surgeries to remove the entire prostate cancer, which can cost between INR 3,00,000 to INR 14,00,000, the focal therapy treatments are a lot more cost-effective and have higher success rates in keeping the functions of the prostate gland intact.
5. Why do People Prefer India for Focal Therapy for Prostate Cancer?
Focal therapy for prostate cancer is still a very new concept that not many countries across the world have adapted to. However, with the consistent medical growth that India is subjected to, it isn’t surprising that most hospitals in the metropolitan cities in India are equipped with cutting-edge technologies to treat the severity of disease with the best prostate cancer doctor in India.
If you have been diagnosed with low-risk or medium-risk prostate cancer and want to undergo a successful round of treatment, India is an ideal country for that. Here’s why:
- It is easy to get a medical visa for the tourists requiring immediate treatments
- The treatment packages are highly effective but highly affordable and budget-friendly
- Hospitals across India are staffed with highly experienced and qualified urologists, radiation and surgical oncologists for effective treatment
- The Covid management in hospitals in India is done with caution and as per government guidelines
Prostate cancer is a leading cause of death in men every year. However, the introduction of focal therapy has ensured to improve the quality of life of the diagnosed patients; they are also effective in getting rid of cancer for good in low-risk patients. Amidst all the leading medical centers, India is a country that has become a leading pioneer for the treatment of prostate cancer.
If you plan to visit India to undergo the treatment, we at Medinirvana can help you plan and execute the process efficiently. From arranging the medical visa to helping you chalk out the focal therapy cost in India in 2021, we can help you every step along the way.