FLA provides a middle ground between radical therapy and observation for the treatment and management of prostate cancer.
Until recently, most men diagnosed with prostate cancer would choose either active surveillance or radical therapy (prostatectomy) to manage their disease. The life-altering side effects associated with prostatectomy are significant and diminish the quality of life for years following treatment. And the process of watchful waiting can be distressing for many patients.
Focal laser ablation (FLA) can be considered the middle ground between radical therapy and active surveillance. By targeting only the tumour, focal therapy offers oncologic control without the lifestyle altering side effects of radical, whole gland therapy.
Focal laser ablation uses a laser to heat the tumour to a temperature where it can no longer survive. The laser fibre is inserted through the skin into the tumour guided by imaging such as ultrasound or MRI. The temperature of the tissue can be monitored to ensure that therapeutic temperatures (temperatures at which the tumour cells will not be able to survive) are reached in the target and that critical structures - such as the urethra and nerve bundles responsible for sexual activity - remain cool and undamaged.
Preliminary data suggests no complications and no impact on sexual or urinary function as a result of focal laser ablation.