Bermudan parliament weighs in on prostate cancer treatment

One would hardly expect the treatment of prostate cancer to become an issue for fierce debate in the Bermudan Parliament. However, this seems to have occurred yesterday in a heated argument over treatment of men with high-intensity focused ultrasound or HIFU.

According to the Royal Gazette Online, one member of the parliament appears to have characterized HIFU as an “experimental” treatment because it has yet to be approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. In fact, HIFU is approved for clinical use in the treatment of prostate cancer in several counties around the world, including France, Germany, Canada, and others.

In the USA it would perhaps be most accurate to characterize HIFU as an “investigational” treatment rather than an “experimental” one. It is currently being tested in clinical trials in the USA. Whether HIFU is as effective or as safe as other forms of treatment for localized and recurrent prostate cancer is the question under investigation. As a consequence, there are men who currently travel to other nations (including Bermuda and Mexico) for treatment with HIFU.

There is no consensus yet among the specialist urology community regarding the value of HIFU as a treatment for prostate cancer. However, what is clear is that some men believe that HIFU is a form of treatment with less risk of serious short- and long-term side effects than the more traditional types of treatment (such as surgery and radiation therapy).

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