Though it varies by individual, men diagnosed with localized prostate cancer are typically given treatment options like surgery or radiation. Though they can be effective, these standard-of-care treatments come with a significant risk of side effects. Surgery to remove the prostate gland, for example, is known as a radical prostatectomy. It is chief among prescribed treatments for prostate cancer, and it has an approximately 50% risk of causing ED (Erectile Dysfunction) and a 25% risk for causing incontinence. [i]
A prostate cancer diagnosis, however, does not always mean that the entire prostate gland must be treated. Using a technique known as laser focal therapy, Dr. Ara Karamanian treats the disease in a way that leaves the gland intact and significantly reduces the risk of side effects of traditional therapies.
“Planning treatment for a man with localized prostate cancer, or an enlarged prostate, should be personalized, safe, and precise. Laser focal therapy makes that possible for appropriate patients,” says Dr. Karamanian, medical director of the prostate program for HALO Diagnostics and the Prostate Laser Center in the Houston medical center.
Dr. Karamanian, known as “Dr. K” to his patients is a dual board-certified diagnostic and vascular and interventional radiologist. Before medical school, Dr. Karamanian majored in biomedical engineering at Duke University where he studied high-tech 3D ultrasound imaging. Today, Dr. Karamanian uses a 3T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine, lasers, and ultrasound technology to treat men with prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
During a laser focal therapy treatment, Dr. Karamanian uses real-time MR imaging to guide a 1.85-millimeter laser fiber directly to the location of tumors inside the prostate gland and destroys them with heat delivered via the laser fiber. This process is known as ablation. The hyper-targeted technique allows Dr. Karamanian to treat only the tumor, or in the case of BPH, excess tissue, while decreasing the risk of side effects.
Dr. Karamanian also performs TULSA-PRO® which stands for “transurethral ultrasound ablation procedure.” The TULSA technique also uses ablative heat to precisely destroy prostate cancer, though the approach is different. Instead of a laser, heat is administered via a device inserted into the urethra. During the therapy, the robotically controlled device treats only areas of the prostate as designated by Dr. Karamanian. TULSA can also be used to treat the entire prostate and/or large volumes of tissue while still protecting the nerves and muscles surrounding the prostate gland.
To date, more than 800 men have been treated with laser focal therapy at HALO centers nationwide.
An ongoing HALO Diagnostics clinical trial published in the Journal of Urology, shows that to date, patients within the study treated with laser focal therapy have a less than one percent risk of ED, a less than one percent risk for urinary incontinence, and a 100% prostate cancer specific survival rate after 5 years.[ii] In wider practice outside of the study, the risk of erectile dysfunction is less than 10% and the risk of urinary incontinence is less than 3%. Unlike a radical prostatectomy, laser focal therapy is performed in an outpatient setting and does not require radical surgery, incisions, or hospitalization. Both the TULSA procedure and laser focal therapy can also treat patients suffering from benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also known as an enlarged prostate.
To learn more visit www.prostatelasercenter.com.
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*Disclaimer: Every patient’s situation is unique. Each treatment option has risk of significant side effects, and no treatment option can guarantee a cure.
[i] McCullough, Andrew R. “Sexual dysfunction after radical prostatectomy.” Reviews in urology vol. 7 Suppl 2,Suppl 2 (2005): S3-S10.
[ii] Feller JF, Greenwood BM, Stafford RJ. Imaging and focal therapy of early prostate cancer. Cham: Springer; 2017. Transrectal laser focal therapy of prostate cancer; pp. 325–342.