Developed in Milano, Italy, radiofrequency ablation (RFA) has been used as an alternative treatment for prostate cancer for over a decade. This procedure results in two desired effectsi:
- During the procedure, RF-probes are used to heat and destroy the affected tissue.
- The heat triggers both an “inflammatory process” and a positive reaction in the immune system that continually attacks the affected prostatic tissue.
By monitoring the temperature through thermo-probes during treatment, surrounding areas of the targeted area are left unharmed. The temperature of the probe typically reaches 86 °C (187 °F), and the duration of treatment increases from ten seconds to ten minutes. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used to track the progression of the tumors, and studies have shown that after RFA treatments, physicians have documented a "lack of tumor enhancement" approximately six weeks post-procedureii.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) targets the cancerous tumor through a minimally invasive localized procedure. Some prostate cancer patients have used radiofrequency ablation for recurrent prostate cancer or to diminish pain when the tumor has metastasized to the bone or soft tissue. This procedure is typically done when other prostate cancer treatments have failed. Many patients see RFA as a safer and more cost-effective option than alternative local treatment therapies, such as surgical resection and radiationiii. Other positive aspects of this alternative cancer treatment include:
- Low risk to the patient
- Little or no pain
- Short hospital stay
- Procedure can be repeated if the cancer recurs
Like all prostate cancer treatments, be sure to discuss with your doctor which option is best for you. Radiofrequency ablation is not for everyone, and not everyone will see the same results. Depending on your age, stage of cancer, and recent treatment history, RFA may be able to help diminish your prostate cancer and improve your quality of life.