A groundbreaking study led by researchers at Imperial College London, published in the Journal of Medical Economics, reveals that minimally invasive focal therapies, such as cryotherapy and High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU), are not only cost-effective but also significantly improve the quality of life for prostate cancer patients.
Focal therapies offer a targeted approach to treating prostate cancer.
These treatments, like cryotherapy (freezing cancer cells) or HIFU (using heat to destroy cancer cells), focus only on cancerous areas within the prostate, leaving the surrounding healthy tissue intact.
This precision reduces damage to nearby nerves, blood vessels, and muscles, leading to fewer side effects compared to traditional treatment methods.
The study analyzed data from over 1,300 patients treated in five hospitals from 2006 to 2018.
Researchers developed an economic model to compare the long-term costs and patient outcomes of focal therapy against more conventional treatments like prostatectomy surgery or radiotherapy.
This comprehensive analysis included patient reports, published literature, and clinical opinions to predict treatment pathways, costs, and outcomes in terms of effectiveness and quality of life.
Key Findings: Cost-Effectiveness and Improved Quality of Life
The study found that focal therapies were associated with lower overall costs and higher patient benefits than either surgery or radiotherapy.
Patients undergoing focal therapy experienced fewer sexual, urinary, and rectal side effects. Additionally, focal therapy resulted in greater quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gains at a lower cost, showcasing its value within the NHS framework.
Implications for Prostate Cancer Treatment
Professor Hashim Ahmed, a leading figure in the study, emphasized the importance of this discovery.
He highlighted how focal therapy’s precision in targeting prostate cancer leads to less tissue damage, quicker recovery, and significantly fewer side effects while effectively treating the cancer.
Despite its benefits, focal therapy is currently underutilized in the UK, with most patients undergoing more invasive treatments.
While the study’s findings are promising, the researchers acknowledge some limitations, such as the data being sourced from a limited number of hospitals and the reliance on literature-based estimates for long-term outcomes and quality-of-life data.
If you care about prostate cancer, please read studies about 5 types of bacteria linked to aggressive prostate cancer, and new strategy to treat advanced prostate cancer.
For more information about prostate cancer, please see recent studies about new way to lower risk of prostate cancer spread, and results showing three-drug combo boosts survival in metastatic prostate cancer.
The research findings can be found in the Journal of Medical Economics.
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