Know your prostate cancer treatment options

Prostate cancer affects more then 3 million men every year, worldwide. Last year 1 in 9 men in the US were diagnosed with prostate cancer. Genes for disease can run in families. Men who have a relative with prostate cancer are twice as likely to develop the disease, while those with two or more relatives are nearly four times as likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer themeselves. The risk is even higher when the affected family members were diagnosed before age 65.

September is national Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. About 174,650 new cases of this type of cancer are reported each year, along with 31,620 deaths attributed to the disease annually. One in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. While only one man in 10,000 will typically get prostate cancer under age 40, the risk increases to six of every 10 men by age 65, according to the American Cancer Society.

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related death following skin cancer, and about one man in 41 will die of the disease. However, statistics show that most men diagnosed with the prostate cancer do not die from it, and more than 2.9 million men in the U.S. who were found to have this cancer are alive today. But why take a chance? A simple screening involving an annual blood test to measure PSA levels gives doctors a way to assess the presence and pace of the disease and the need for ongoing monitoring, a biopsy or direct intervention.

“Why is there such a difference between cancers? Some prostate cancer is very aggressive and progresses quickly, while other forms take many years to become life threatening,” said Michael Lazar, a noted urologist with a practice in Santa Rosa, California and a leading proponent of non-invasive High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) therapy for prostate cancer treatment.

You have a number of options if it is determined that you have this disease. These include traditional surgery to remove the prostate gland, radiation (including inserting irradiated pellets into the prostate), cryotherapy (freezing of the prostate), or non-invasive HIFU therapy using sound waves to pinpoint cancer cells and destroy them without damage to surrounding healthy tissue and minimal blood loss.

Side effects associated with invasive surgical procedures including a hospital stay, a longer recovery period plus scaring, adhesions and blood loss. There is also the risk of incontinence, erectile dysfunction (ED) and a decline of libido. Radiation can ionize otherwise healthy cells that can turn into cancer latter in life. With cryotherapy, side effects include 90% to 100% ED and urethral tissue scaring that can obstruct voiding. The HIFU procedure is virtually painless, takes only a few hours, and there are fewer side effects, thereby maintaining the quality of life. Most patients are up and around the same day.

“HIFU is an exciting non-invasive technology that uses ultrasound energy to create heat. This heat is precisely aimed at the cancerous portions of the gland to kill the cancer while sparing the normal regions. It is painless, bloodless and causes much less erectile dysfunction and almost no incontinence at all. It’s done under anesthesia and the men wake up and can get on a plane that day to go home and can return to normal activities almost immediately.”

In most instances, there are no significant symptoms during the early stages of prostate cancer, and symptoms may vary from one man to another, or can be caused by other conditions. However, there are some urinary symptoms that could signal cancer including: pain or a burning sensation while urinating as well as difficulty in starting or stopping, frequent urges to go during the night, an uncontrollable bladder, a decreased flow of the urine stream, or blood in the urine. Other symptoms include painful ejaculation or difficulty in getting an erection, swelling in the legs or pelvic area, pain or numbness in the feet, legs or hips, constant bone pain leading to fractures and blood in the semen.

“My advice to every man is to obtain a baseline PSA after age 40, then yearly exams and PSA tests after 50 years of age. For those having to make a treatment choice for prostate cancer, consider all options including HIFU. While not currently available in the U.S., HIFU is pending FDA approval and is available internationally at a full-service hospital in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where dozens of successful HIFU procedures have been performed by me and my highly trained team,” Dr. Lazar said.

Dr. Lazar is part of Northern California Medical Associates (NCMA) and operates California HIFU in Santa Rosa. He is the medical director of HIFU Prostate Services, LLC, a leading provider of minimally-invasive prostate cancer treatments using High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU).HIFU is an FDA approved precise and targeted therapy for prostate cancer that reduces the risk of complications caused by surgery and radiation. Focal Therapy is not associated with incontinence, and erectile dysfunction is just under 10%. Sparing of the urethra avoids scar tissue formation which, when present, may diminish the urinary stream. The eventual need for additional therapy is now under 10%.

Dr. Michael Lazar offers a HIFU Program in partnership with HIFU Prostate Services, LLC (HPS). HIFU Prostate Services, LLC (HPS) is a leading provider of minimally-invasive prostate cancer treatments using High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU). HIFU prostate treatments are available at San Francisco, Marin County, and Santa Rosa.

HIFU has many proven advantages over traditional treatment modalities for prostate disease. Call (707) 546-5553 to make an appointment with Dr. Lazar. Visit for more information. Fill out our online questionnaire to see if you qualify.