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Microwave treatment for prostate ills?

Microwave Treatment For Prostate Ills?

LONDON, ENGLAND -- Heating the prostate gland with microwaves may be an effective alternative to surgical treatment for prostate problems, according to a team of London researchers. The advantages of the treatment are that it does not destroy tissue, reportedly has no side effects, and can be done in an outpatient setting. Each year, as many as 30% of all men over age 60 in the US and about 10% in Britain have a transurethral prostatectomy (TURP), which involves surgical removal of the prostate through the patient's urethra and carries a number of side effects.

The new experimental procedure requires rectal insertion of a device called the Prostathermer to heat the prostate to 42 degrees Centigrade (107.6 degrees Fahrenheit) for about one hour at a time; a protective cooling system keeps the temperature of the surrounding bowel wall at 30 degrees Centigrade (86 degrees Fahrenheit).

The treatment was pioneered by Israeli researchers eight years ago. Of the 850 men treated in Israel for benign or malignant prostate conditions, only a few showed no improvement; most have improved enough to avoid surgery for at least two years, according to the researchers, Ciro Servadio and Zvi Leib of the Beilinson Medical Center in Peta Tigva.

At London's St. Peter's Hospital, human trials of the Prostathermer have recently begun which "could have major impact on the treatment of prostate problems," according to urologist Graham Watson, who is in charge of the trials. Watson stressed that hyperthermia could avoid a number of side effects associated with TURPs. The chance of improving symptoms with a transurethal prostatectomy, he said, is only about 66%; following surgery prostate tissue grows back anyway, so that the operation may have to be repeated after about 10 years; and surgery often causes retrograde ejaculation, a condition in which ejaculated semen flows backward into the bladder, resulting in infertility.

Said London hyperthermy trial chief Watson: "I don't expect that hyperthermia will entirely replace prostatectomy, but that it will find its place among the treatments at our disposal. There is also some interest in using it with chemotherapy for some forms of prostate cancer." Watson also believes hyperthermy is superior to current cryosurgery (freezing) or laser surgery treatments for benign enlargement of the prostate, which carries a risk of bladder infection and kidney damage.
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Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Sep 22, 1989
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