JULY 2009


If you find any of our articles/comments helpful a method of donating is provided.  This will ensure the contination of this online edition of Prostate Focus.  You do not need a Paypal account to donate - you can use your debit/credit card via Paypal secure payment method.


If this is inconvenient send a cheque direct to Prostate Help 2003 Ltd., LANGWORTH, LINCOLN, LN3 5DF.   Please mark the back of your cheque DONATION.



Bisphenol, the Food Additive,

you might prefer not to have.


Bisphenol BPA has a long history.  Originally developed just before the Second World War as an estrogen replacement it has become implicated as a possible cause of Breast and Prostate Cancer:

"Ban It Now," Urges Dr. Kathleen T. Ruddy

The U.S. Breast Health and Healing Foundation's Founder, Dr. Kathleen T. Ruddy, calls for the immediate ban of Bisphenol A in all consumer products. According to Dr. Ruddy, Bisphenol A or BPA is the "smoking gun" linking breast and prostate cancer.

So what is the problem with this product ?

Manufacturers found that BPA did an excellent job of hardening plastics.  In consequence for the past 60 years or so BPA has gone into the manufacture of among other things, plastic baby bottles, water bottles, not to forget the plastic liners for fizzy drink cans.

The snag with this is that the BPA leaches out into the drink or food. So it means that my generation have been imbibing BPA for the majority of our lives.  If, as Dr Ruddy claims that BPA is implicated in prostate cancer then we are all up against the wall.  

I recall some years back claims that too much estrogen was the cause of prostate cancer and it could not be blamed on testosterone.  How could testosterone be the trigger when any young man in his teens and twenties is overflowing with the stuff yet our doctors are not treating hundreds of thousands of them for prostate cancer.  No, the males who are being treated are men later in life as the amount of testosterone slowly diminishes, depleting our muscles and overall energy and staying power.

Research has found that over 90% of soft drinks contain BPA and 97% of newborn babies have BPA metabolites in their urine. BPA is very much in the dock with over 100 studies linking BPA exposure to early onset of breast and prostate cancer.

A final thought from Dr. Ruddy. “In essence, we are all taking a miniature birth control pill every time we bump into BPA - which is all the time.”


PSA Screening.

Still Promoted by Organisations.


Men, recently diagnosed and treated, aided by their wives and relations, extend the myth that PSA screening for prostate cancer is the way forward.  How many times do you read of a personality emerging into the daylight of prostate cancer publicity and saying that PSA screening saved his life.

Oh if it was only true. Every time I see another article proclaiming this fact I groan for I have seen the many surveys and multi year trials which show without a doubt that PSA screening has virtually no effect on cancer deaths.

One comment I have seen says ‘that an average man who gets screened is 48 times more likely to be harmed by screening than he is to be saved by screening at 9 years after diagnosis’. Just what is meant by harmed? 

Well I have covered this before but if you missed it first time around, :- there is the trauma of the tests and waiting for the results. Then there are the biopsies which in spite of medical reassurances can go wrong. Now we move onto needless treatments either hormone or more drastic surgery or radiotherapy of one form or another.  All of the latter can cause impotence and incontinence as well as radiation burning to adjacent organs of the body.

Medical News Today commented. ‘The real impact and tragedy of prostate cancer screening is the doubling of the lifetime risk of a diagnosis of prostate cancer with little if any decrease in the risk of dying from this disease. In 1985, before PSA screening was available, an American man had an 8.7% lifetime risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer and a 2.5% lifetime risk of dying from the disease. Twenty years later, in 2005, an American man had a 17% lifetime risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer and a 3% risk of dying from prostate cancer.’

So take warning being diagnosed usually means being treated, being treated means side effects.  If you decide to go down this route ensure you are fully aware of all the possible side effects you may be subjected too.  Exactly how would each of them impact on your lifestyle?

Do you want to have your current life style cramped and in some cases destroyed by such side effects ? 


If you have a PSA test and it is a high figure and your medic recommends a biopsy, then say no, until, that is, you have seriously considered the implications and you have had a second test.

It is just possible that your actions prior to that first test contributed to the high reading.  Did you, for instance ejaculate during the days just prior to the blood being taken?  Did you take a pounding from your cycle saddle as you mountain biked or rode into work in the same period?  Have you any signs of a prostate or urinary infection? 

Any or all of these events could ramp up your PSA reading.  A second test, taking care not to repeat the above actions, or advise your medic about any possible infection, could save you much trauma.  PD.



Reference the current spate of interest in what we are told is a 'new' treatment for prostate cancer.

We, the Prostate Help Association discussed HIFU way back in 2003.  We financed a dedicated operating theatre at the Stepping Hill hospital for Stephen Brown shortly afterwards in excess of £40,000.  I find it incredible that Prostate Cancer Charity spokesmen and others can say this is a 'new' method of treatment and data does not exist.

We first wrote about this treatment method in our magazine in 2003.  For instance Ablatherm HIFU has been included in several scientific publications outlining the results of clinical studies conducted in Europe. These studies have shown the effectiveness of this technique and the distinct benefit in that it causes few of the potential side effects of other treatments.

The treatment is backed up by some 15 years of research on the continent. Yet here we have a key man in a prostate charity together with other responsible UK medics unable to support this treatment method either through design or lack of knowledge.  It appears that a superior treatment for this male cancer is being sidelined here in the U.K.


The article below on HIFU was published back in 2003 in our magazine.


High Intensity Focused Ultrasound.


The idea of using ultrasound for the destruction of tissue has been around for a long time but at last a company has produced a device which has gained approval in the Far East and Europe both for BPH and Prostate Cancer treatment.

Focus Surgery, a private company based in Indianapolis, Indiana, was only formed in 1996 but has developed an image-guided acoustic ablation device for the non-invasive surgical treatment of urological diseases. Focus Surgery's latest upgrade is the Sonablate® 500 System designed for the non-invasive treatment of BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia)  and for prostate cancer.

 Doctors worldwide have already successfully treated thousands of prostate cancer and BPH patients using the Sonablate® 500

For more information please view their web site.

The company is also looking to use the High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)  treatment for liver, kidney, pancreas, breast, cardiac, brain and cosmetic surgery applications.

HIFU_ONEThe Sonablate 500

The Ministry of Health and Welfare in Japan has approved the SB-500 system for clinical use in the treatment of image-guided therapy of BPH.  Based on this approval, a company has begun marketing the SB-500 in Japan.

In addition, the system received European approval with the CE 0843 mark. which includes both BPH and prostate cancer.

The drawing on the left shows the indwelling catheter with its balloon inflated to hold it in the bladder.  The probe, located in the rectum, is heating up the prostate cancer cells within the prostate gland situated just below the bladder.

Narendra T. Sanghvi, president and chief executive officer of Focus Surgery, said: "These two regulatory bodies' approvals and certifications verifies our dedication to provide very high quality, state-of-the-art, minimally invasive treatment devices for the management of prostate diseases”.

HIFU is capable of destroying deep-seated tissue by rapidly elevating temperature in a precise focal zone, without affecting the intervening tissue.

Multiple site trials have already been conducted to establish the clinical efficacy in Japan, Canada and the USA; a total of seven locations with sixty two patients.  Different sized probes (containing focal length transducers) are available to treat varying prostate sizes and shapes.  Images produced were used for the selection of tissue volume, treatment planning and monitoring.

Patients had follow-up checks for up to two years and the results showed that HIFU was safe and efficacious for the treatment of BPH with statistically significant results and the treatment overall was found to be durable.


The advantages of HIFU treatments are:


1) HIFU can elevate tissue temperature in the focal  zone up to 70º to 90º Centigrade in a very short duration (1-4 seconds) to ablate selected cancer tissue while leaving the surrounding tissue undamaged.

2) HIFU produces sharp and predictable lesions.

3) HIFU energy is non-ionising and can be applied repeatedly.


History of HIFU Treatments of Localized Prostate Cancer.

The first group to use HIFU for prostate cancer was Marberger and others in 1994.  They used the first generation Sonablate® device for 10 patients with localized prostate cancer. 

Later, (1999) Gelet,  treated 50 patients with 113 treatments for localized prostate cancer with a HIFU device. They reported in a two-year follow-up that the PSA level of the patients was less than 4.0 ng/ml and that they could not detect any cancerous lesions in 28 of the 50 patients treated (56%).

Three examples of more recent treatments are outlined below.

Patient #1 (78 years) diagnosed with an enlarged prostate and on ‘watchful waiting’, but after a PSA of 15.5ng/ml, had a prostate biopsy that indicated a Gleason score of 4+3 = 7.  The right lobe and 1/3 of the left lobe were treated with HIFU.  A pre-operative PSA level of 15.5ng/ml was reduced to 2.56ng/ml in 3 months, and then rose to 6.53ng/ml after 13 months follow up.  There is a plan to treat this patient a second time with HIFU.

Patient #2 (78 years) primary complaint was of urinary retention when he was first examined in January 1999.  Prostate volume was 37.9 ml.  After his PSA results had risen to 13.0ng/ml, biopsies were taken, (8 in the centre and 2 from the right lobe) indicating a Gleason score of 2+2=4 giving a cancer determination, clinical stage T2a N0M0 (or stage B1) diagnosis.  The whole prostate was treated during two separate treatments within the same month.  A 12 month post-operative follow up showed a reduction in PSA level to 0.14 ng/ml, and no traces of cancer after biopsy exams.

Patient #3 (86 years) with stage T2aN0M0 ( or stage B1), with malignant cells determination was treated in the left lobe for 2 hrs 34 minutes.  At a three month follow up after treatment, his PSA levels had been reduced from 14.4 ng/ml to 10.8ng/ml.  There is a plan to treat this patient a second time with HIFU.

These patients averaged a hospital stay of only 11 days (6-20 days range) and the only complication was urethral stricture in one patient.

Usefulness of HIFU in the Treatment of Localized Prostate Cancer

The advantages of HIFU treatment for localized prostate cancer are:

1)      The temperature of the focal region for prostate cancer can be considerably lower than for BPH therapy (70-80oC) and that it may shorten the total time of operation.

2)      It is possible to re-treat recurrences using HIFU as many times as necessary after external irradiation, brachytherapy or cryosurgery for localized prostate cancer.

3)      It is minimally invasive with no incisions to the body.

4)      Overnight or outpatient treatment is possible.

5)      Fewer Complications.

Dr. Uchida said: ``The patients treated with the Sonablate® show significant improvement in their PSA scores within a month of treatment and have fewer complications as compared to other prostate cancer treatment procedures.  This treatment was found to be safe and has improved the quality of life for these patients.''

I was a little confused between the comment that the average stay in hospital is 11 days and yet it states that overnight or outpatient treatment is possible.  The reason apparently for this is that the longer times noted are those of  Dr Uchida who was taking great care not only in the treatment but also being cautious in observing the patients and testing them etc., so as to gain confidence in this new, to him, treatment.

I understand that the Japanese healthcare system favours the hotel hospital side of reimbursement.  In other words, doctors make very little on surgical fees, on the other hand they keep patients in hospitals longer which makes up the difference in fees. Now this period is much lower and the average time is 1- 4 days which apparently is very short for Japan.

I am impressed that unlike all current treatments, this one can be repeated and can take place at any time.  It seems it could also be used as a rescue therapy i.e. when/if existing treatments have failed. Anyone contemplating prostate cancer treatment should consider that HIFU requires no incisions so there is less chance of infection.  There should be no possible damage to adjacent tissue, unlike radiotherapy for instance. And no side effects which occur with hormone treatment, although this latter treatment is unlikely to be offered to anyone with cancer cells confined to the prostate gland.  (PD)

Two things to note…….

During the operation it was found that men having a suprapubic catheter had a lower rate of urethral stricture than those given a normal urethral catheter.

To date (04.07.2009) I have seen no method of telling the difference between an aggressive cancer and a non aggressive one.  Often termed tiger and pussy cat cancers. The latter may never cause their host any problems at all. 

This means that it is quite possible that many of those treated in the trials for HIFU, as with any other trials for that matter, would never have any problems with PC and during the annual checks would be described as clear and counted as a successful treatment.

Thought……. Are the pussycat cancers really aggressive cancers which are kept in check by a healthy immune system ? or… are the aggressive cancers, really pussycat cancers which are allowed to run wild due to a weak immune system. ?  PD


Inclusion of links is NOT an endorsement by the Prostate Help Association, nor do we guarantee any information you will find, other than our own.
We would remind everyone that they should discuss with their medical team all aspects of their condition
and then come to a decision in regard to the best treatment for their condition.

  Site Map