In November 2017, Dr. Jack Cassell, owner of Urology of Mount Dora, began offering high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) at Florida Hospital Waterman in Tavares for men with localized prostate cancer. The procedure, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in October 2015, offers the equivalent five-year survival rate achieved with traditional prostate surgery or radiation, according to a study of 625 prostate cancer patients conducted in the United Kingdom.
“If doctors would’ve told me 20 years ago that we’d be able to cure prostate cancer this way, I would not have believed them.”
During the noninvasive procedure, Dr. Cassell obtains real-time, three-dimensional ultrasound images of the prostate and surrounding areas. From these images, he sends high-frequency ultrasound waves through the walls of the rectum with pinpoint accuracy, generating enough thermal energy to destroy cancerous cells. All of this is done without a single incision or blood loss.
“With each burst of an ultrasound wave, we destroy tissue that is roughly the size of a grain of rice without damaging surrounding tissue and cells,” he says. “The ultrasound waves are atraumatic to anything other than the specifically targeted prostate tissue.”
As a result, the prostate, which is roughly the size of a walnut and sits between the bladder and penis, is kept intact. That’s significant because the 10-year survival rate for men with prostate cancer is 98 percent, according to the American Cancer Society. Therefore, selecting a treatment is as much about how the treatment affects quality of life as it is about survival.
While traditional medical procedures like surgery and radiation are effective, treating the entire prostate can lead to risks of incontinence and erectile dysfunction. In fact, the Prostate Cancer Foundation found that 25 percent of men experience frequent leakage or no bladder control at six months after a prostatectomy.
“You only have one body,” Dr. Cassell says. “Your lifestyle should be the most important thing to you. If having an erection and having the ability to hold your urine is important to you, then there’s no better investment that you could make than choosing a treatment that avoids the disastrous side effects of traditional prostate cancer treatment.”
Dr. Cassell has performed HIFU for nearly a decade. Before it became FDA-approved, he would accompany patients to the Bahamas, Mexico, and Dominican Republic and complete the procedure at local hospitals.
Today, he serves as a proctor for North Carolina-based HIFU Prostate Services, the leading provider of HIFU technology to physician practices in the United States.
He also performs the procedure at Surgery Center of Mount Dora, located at 3710 Lake Center Drive.
“It’s a real game-changer,” Dr. Cassell says. “And in addition to no incontinence or erectile dysfunction, patients enjoy little downtime and a faster return to normal activities.”
Urology of Mount Dora // 717 N. Donnelly St., Mount Dora // 352.383.3773 // urologyofmountdora.com