NHS takes an about turn on prostate cancer treatment

December 16th, 2007 - 6:04 pm ICT by admin  

London, Dec 16 (ANI): Scientists at the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) in Britain have decided to restrict the use of ultrasound therapy to cure prostate cancer in earlier stages.

Nice had earlier offered the treatment, called High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (Hifu), which was considered to be a vital new weapon against prostate cancer.

The therapy has revealed to kill nine out of 10 prostate tumours, and 80 per cent of patients, after being treated for five years, show no sign of the cancer recurring.

Scientists believed that the therapy was suitable for treatment in the early stages of the disease, when it is not known how quickly it will spread and lesser side effects like impotence or incontinence as compared to surgery or conventional radiotherapy treatment.

Now, Nice has decided to reverse the decision and restrict the use of the HIFU treatment.

The therapy will now be restricted only to those who have already failed to respond to conventional treatment and whose cancer has returned.

However, the other scientists condemned the decision saying that it will have enormous impact on the patients.

Mark Emberton, a consultant urologist at University College Hospital, London, said that he was worried that patients would be forced into the private sector, “which would be a disaster”, if they wanted the treatment, reports the Telegraph.

Stephen Brown, a consultant urologist at Stepping Hill hospital, Stockport,
believe that Hifu is a really good option.

“We think Hifu is a really good option for patients who want a lesser procedure,” the Telegraph quoted him, as saying.

Prof Roger Kirby, who chairs the Prostate UK charity, also believes that the decision would have a massive impact.

“Restricting the treatments available will have a massive impact on the patient,” said Kirby.

The U-turn comes despite the research published last month in the European Journal of Urology, which found that eight out of 10 men were healthy five years after being treated with Hifu. (ANI)

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