Laser procedure new option for cancer treatment?


Jim Spiller, a retired professor at UTMB, got some disconcerting news.

"My PSA had spiked. It had doubled," Spiller said.

Then he learned he had an option he liked a lot better than prostate cancer surgery.

"The fact that it's so non-invasive, the fact they could identify the locale and the difficulty of whatever that is," Spiller said.

He's talking about the new laser ablation procedure for prostate cancer, where an MRI is used to give an accurate picture of where the cancer is, then they zap it.

Dr. Eric Walser at UTMB shows us how it works.

"The colored image is where the cancer is. And this is the cell death that's formed by the laser heat," Dr. Walser said.

It took 120 seconds. And the side effects are minimal.

"We haven't seen anything except some minor pain overnight, which is easily controlled. We've not seen any problems with urination or sexual dysfunction," Dr. Walser said.

This laser procedure is something in between watchful waiting and the radical prostate surgery. And right now they're testing it with men who have early cancer.

The results have been good in Europe and in the few U.S. patients. Dr. Spiller's biopsy results won't be back until Tuesday. But he has decided, if it's cancer, he wants to remove it with the laser.

"Just a step forward in dealing with this type of difficulty," Spiller said.

Dr. Walser has also used this laser procedure to successfully remove small cancers in the lung, liver and kidney.

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