Is HIFU Right For You? Sex After Prostate Cancer


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — The five-year survival rate for prostate cancer patients is over 98 percent, but men often face challenges after treatment … Standard radiation therapy can result in bowel and urinary problems, as well as erectile dysfunction. Now, one recently approved treatment helps men avoid the unpleasant side effects, and is actually less invasive than the biopsy procedure used for diagnosis!

Sixty-two-year-old Bill Pelick was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer in December 2016.

Pelick told Ivanhoe, “So I didn’t have really the option to just wait it out.”

With the clock ticking, Bill weighed his treatment options.

“I didn’t want to have any incontinence problems. I didn’t want to be going to the store having to buy diapers and things like that,” Pelick explained.

His urologist, Doctor Jack Cassell, had the answer; HIFU or high intensity focused ultrasound.

“It’s kind of like having a magnifying glass and shining sunlight onto a piece of paper and basically it’s not hot near the lens, but when you get to the focal point that’s where you get about an 80 degree centigrade temperature,” explained Jack Cassell, MD, Urologic Oncologist at Urology of Mount Dora. (Read Full Interview)

The ultrasound beam goes through the rectal wall killing the targeted prostate tissue, without damaging other structures.

Doctor Cassell continued, “So there is almost no impotence involved with this procedure because you’re seeing where the nerves are and you’re staying away from them.”

“Because of the very little side effects, you know, sexual function, you still … you still have that,” Pelick said.

A year later, Bill is glad he chose the HIFU procedure.

Although HIFU has been used in other countries since the 1990’s for the treatment of prostate cancer, it has only been FDA-approved in the U.S. for about two years. With no recovery time, patients can be back to their normal schedule the very next day.

Contributors to this news report include: Gabriella Battistiol, Field Producer; Jesse Draus, Videographer; Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Jamison Koczan, Editor.

To receive a free weekly e-mail on Medical Breakthroughs from Ivanhoe, sign up at:





REPORT:       MB #4373

BACKGROUND: Prostate cancer occurs in the small, walnut-shaped gland which produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm in men. It is one of the most common types of cancer in men, usually growing slowly and initially confined to the prostate gland which may not cause serious harm. However, some types of prostate cancer are aggressive and can spread quickly, while others are slow and may need minimal or even no treatment. It is unclear what causes prostate cancer, but it begins when some cells in the prostate become abnormal via mutations in the DNA that cause the cells to grow and divide more rapidly than normal cells do. The abnormal cells continue living, while other cells will die. Accumulating abnormal cells form a tumor that can grow to invade surrounding tissue, and abnormal cells can even break off and metastasize to other parts of the body.


RISK FACTORS AND MORE: Risk factors include age, race, family history, and obesity. Risk of prostate cancer increases as you age, and black men carry a greater risk than men of other races. If men in your family have a history, this may increase your chances. Finally, obese men with prostate cancer may be more likely to have an advanced form that is difficult to treat. Symptoms may not present in early stages, but more advanced signs and symptoms include decreased force in the stream of urine or trouble urinating, blood in semen, discomfort of the pelvic area, bone pain, and erectile dysfunction. Screening tests might include digital rectal exams or prostate-specific antigen tests. Diagnosis after an abnormal screen may include ultrasound, collecting a sample of prostate tissue, or MRI fusion.


NEW TECHNOLOGY: High Intensity Focal Ultrasound or HIFU for prostate cancer treatment involves using high frequency sound waves targeted at the area of cancer cells. The waves create focused heat that damages the cells. It may be recommended for newly diagnosed prostate cancer patients, or even when the cancer has returned. Patients whose cancer has spread to other parts of the body, known as advanced cancer, are not eligible for HIFU. It is a small, minimally-invasive operation that takes no more than a few hours. Patients can return to their daily lives as early as the day after the procedure. A catheter may be necessary for up to a week.


MORE INFORMATION: Doctor Cassell says total procedure time will vary from patient to patient, and the best candidates are those patients with smaller size prostates if the urologist plans to ablate the entire gland. One possible thing that may exclude this treatment option is a history of rectal problems or rectal surgery.


David Syatt

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at

Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Jack Cassell, MD

Read the entire Q&A