Focal therapy

Focal therapy could become a new treatment for men with localised, but clinically significant prostate cancer (that is, a cancer that requires immediate treatment, and would not be recommended for active surveillance). It involves treating just the cancer, while leaving the rest of the prostate and surrounding tissue intact. It could have the potential to cure prostate cancer, while sparing men from the side effects the experience from whole gland therapy like radiotherapy or prostatectomy.

On this page, you can find out more about what focal therapy ishow it works and what research we’re funding to work out if this could be a beneficial treatment for some men with localised prostate cancer.

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What is focal therapy?

Focal therapy means removing the cancer, while leaving the rest of the organ intact. This is done to retain as much normal function as possible, and so attempt to reduce the side effects, and recovery times, associated with radical treatment options.

Learn more about the treatment
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The pros and cons

So far, results of recent focal therapy trials do look promising in terms of the side effects men experience, but we don’t yet know if they’re really any better than traditional whole-gland options.

The potential advantages and remaining questions
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Types of focal therapy

There are lots of different kinds of focal therapy, but they all have the same basic principle: using a high dose of energy to kill cancerous cells. Importantly, this energy is highly targeted to avoid side effect-inducing collateral damage.

What are the focal therapy options?
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Next steps

At the moment, focal therapy – usually HIFU or Cryotherapy – is only available in specialist centres in the UK or as part of a clinical trial. So what needs to happen before focal therapy could be considered as a standard treatment option for localised prostate cancer?

When will focal therapy reach men?

If you have any concerns about prostate cancer, or have been diagnosed with the disease, our Specialist Nurses are here to support you. If you’d like to discuss whether focal therapy may be an option for you, you can call the nurses on 0800 074 8383, contact them by email, or chat online

Our focal therapy research

We’re funding Professor Ahmed to trial focal therapy in a small group of men, to help inform a larger study that could bring the treatment to men across the UK.

Read about the research

Hash Ahmed profile

Professor Hash Ahmed is Chair of Urology at Imperial College London, based in Charing Cross Hospital. He's been on a 10-year mission to make the biggest difference he can for men.

Meet the researcher

Find out more about HIFU

High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) uses high-frequency ultrasound energy to heat and destroy cancer cells in the prostate.

Read more
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Focal therapy and me

Chris and Andy both chose focal therapy, because they were attracted by the idea of treating their cancer, without experiencing life-changing side effects. But no two men are the same, and they all experienced treatment differently. Read more below about why they chose focal therapy, how it worked out for them, and how they feel now about the decisions they made.

Chris' story

Chris Dobbs was 56 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2011. He spent a lot of time deciding what treatment to have, and found information about a focal therapy clinical trial online.

Chris Dobbs

Andy's story

Andy Cutler was 49 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009. The doctors advised him that it needed to be treated, but he didn’t want his treatment, to put strain on his family, so focal therapy seemed like his best option.

Andy Cutler