High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)

What is HIFU?

High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is a technique that uses heat to destroy the area of the prostate gland affected with cancer by means of a probe that gives out a beam of high-intensity focused ultrasound. 

Who is eligible for HIFU?

You may be eligible for HIFU treatment if:
1) You have a low-grade cancer (cancer which has not spread outside the prostate gland). 
2) You have recurrent prostate cancer after radiotherapy (known as salvage HIFU).
 
What are the advantages and disadvantages of HIFU treatment?

Deciding if HIFU treatment is right for you is a decision you should make after knowing the advantages and disadvantages and discussing them with your doctor. 
 
Advantages of HIFU Disadvantages of HIFU
Minimally invasive Scarring of the prostate
Minimal hospital stays Costly
Minimal side effects New treatment/not much data
  Appears to be less effective at controlling cancer
 
What are the possible complications of HIFU treatment?

As with any procedure, there are possible complications and side effects of HIFU treatment. Everyone responds differently to varying forms of treatment. Doctors have found that there is a slightly higher risk of some patients (3 to 4%) developing a fistula, which is an opening between the urinary system and the bowel. 

Is HIFU available in Canada?

HIFU is currently only offered in select centres in Canada, as it is still considered an experimental procedure. There is insufficient evidence to recommend HIFU as a routine treatment. 
 
HIFU is not covered by Canadian public health insurance – you will need to pay for the procedure yourself. 
 
Please visit the following sites to learn more about HIFU treatments in Canada.
 
 

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