What can be expected after treatment using focal therapy?
Patients treated with focal therapy still need to be actively monitored afterwards. This includes watching for disease that may have gone undetected, has returned, is spreading, or is appearing for the first time. If follow-up tests show that some of the treated cancer still remains, additional ablation may be needed.
What is the outlook for patients who receive focal therapy?
While the use of focal therapy for localized prostate cancer appears to be a promising development in a number of ways, many researchers still look at it as experimental and unproven. There are a number of reasons for this, as follows:
- The criteria (standards) for selecting ideal candidates have still not been fully agreed on. This is an important question because mistakenly using focal therapy in place of a more traditional treatment could allow a cancer to spread or go under-treated.
- The criteria for defining an index lesion still need to be agreed on.
- The idea that the index lesion determines how the cancer will develop has yet to be proven.
- The factors that define treatment success or failure, and the triggers for re-treatment still need to be determined.
- The long-term effectiveness of focal therapy is unknown.
- It is not yet clear that all negative side effects are eliminated by using focal therapy.
- Focal therapy does not allow for firsthand study of cancerous tissue, as can be done when using surgical treatment.
- Focal therapy leaves behind untreated cancer, which could possibly raise the risk of more serious problems in the future.
- The overall cost to the healthcare system may be greater for focal therapy than for standard treatments.