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NICE REVERSE DECISION ON LIFE SAVING TREATMENT FOR PROSTATE CANCER

Thousands of prostate cancer sufferers will be denied life-saving treatment on the NHS due to a u-turn by rationing body NICE announced this week. HIFU, a radical breakthrough treatment, will only be available privately to the 35,000 British men diagnosed with prostate cancer every year.

In the UK, a third of men over 50 contract prostate cancer and 10,000 men die annually. Widely heralded in Europe as cutting edge advancement in the battle against prostate cancer (where over 15,000 men have successfully been treated), High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) blasts cancerous cells without even breaking the skin. It has been proven to kill nine out of 10 prostate tumours, and, five years after treatment, 80 per cent of patients show no sign of the cancer recurring.

Furthermore, HIFU is far less likely to lead to devastating side effects such as impotence or incontinence compared with surgery or conventional radiotherapy treatment.

The robotic ultrasound treatment is part of a generation of medical procedures that can diagnose and treat the body's ailments using nothing more invasive than sound waves.

The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has presented the new guidelines on the grounds that there is not yet enough evidence to prove that HIFU has long-term value, despite its original recommendation in 2004 that the therapy should be offered for free on the NHS.

Paul Miller, the UK’s leading expert in HIFU treatment and Consultant Urological Surgeon for the Surrey & Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, is disappointed by the NICE decision: ‘HIFU is an extremely effective option for patients with localised prostate cancer who want a less invasive treatment. I have treated patients both privately and on the NHS and its success rate speaks for itself. A recent European study of 402 patients with localised prostate cancer has shown 87.2% had negative biopsies five years after treatment. I am saddened that tens of thousands of British men will now be denied the chance to beat this disease effectively and quickly on the NHS.’

The HIFU Clinic at The Gatwick Park Hospital was the first centre in the UK to offer HIFU treatment. Founded by Paul and fellow urological surgeon Tim Larner, the centre specialises in diagnosing and treating the most common form of male cancer. Tim Larner commented last night; ‘There is currently a very high demand from patients for advanced, non invasive procedures such as HIFU. Nowadays, patients are well informed and reluctant to undergo complicated surgery unless absolutely necessary’.

Stephen James who paid for his treatment at The HIFU Clinic in 2007 has had fantastic results; ‘If you are anything like me, when you think cancer treatment, you immediately think chemotherapy. But when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer I began to research treatment options and it was then that I came across HIFU’.

‘Following treatment, the recovery period was minimal compared to what I had expected and I was up and about again in a matter of days. I would recommend this procedure to anyone who finds themselves in my position. It has been the best decision my family and I have ever made.’

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More information about HIFU treatment can be found at: www.hifu.org.uk

Notes to Editor:

To interview HIFU experts Paul Miller or Tim Larner, please contact:

Louisa Revill or Jo Spink
Spink
Tel: 01444 484888
Email: Louisa@spinkpr.com
Notes to editors:

Mr Paul Miller and Tim Larner are two of the few surgeons in UK with extensive experience in treating prostate cancer by both open and HIFU techniques. He is currently training surgeons from across the UK in new surgical techniques for treatments of prostate cancer.
The HIFU clinic which is based at the Spire Gatwick Park Hospital treats patients from all over the world, is a pioneering centre for prostate cancer offering the latest minimally invasive surgery.

The hospital has a long history of introducing new advanced surgical procedures and diagnostic technology resulting in patients having the best treatment options for prostate cancer surgery available to them.

This therapy is available as a therapeutic option and has the advantages of a non-invasive treatment, precise local treatment in one session, repeatable if necessary with a short period of hospitalization and a low complication rate. Unlike some other minimally invasive treatments other options are still open after HIFU therapy, if needed This treatment is recommended for patients with localized cancer (stage T1-T2) who are not candidates for a prostatectomy (because of their age, their general condition or a concomitant. disease) and patients who want an alternative to radical surgery. Additionally, this treatment can be used for patients who have local recurrence after external radiotherapy (“salvage” treatment).

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Spink in the following categories: Men's Interest, Health, Medical & Pharmaceutical, for more information visit http://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.