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Research & Innovation

Ablation Treatment for Prostate Cancer

January 26, 2023

Poster for video How Prostate Cancer is Treated With Ablation - Yale Medicine Explains

Although prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, it is highly treatable and can usually be cured if caught early enough.

But like any cancer, some cases require immediate attention, and those are the ones urologic oncologists are most focused on treating with various options, including surgery, radiation, and ablation techniques.

Prostate cancer occurs when cells in the prostate gland grow and divide uncontrollably, eventually forming a tumor, which can lead to a host of urinary and sexual function issues.

Ablation is a relatively new category of treatment that uses energy—heat, cold, or electricity—to destroy cancer cells, explains Preston C. Sprenkle, MD, a Yale Medicine urologic oncologist.

The prostate’s location (below the bladder and in front of the rectum) can make treatment challenging because of the possibility of impacting urinary or bowel functions.

“My goal is to optimize each patient’s quality of life while giving them the best cancer control,” Dr. Sprenkle says.

Ablation treatments, he says, are extremely precise. Yale physicians offer several different types, including the “TULSA” (transurethral ultrasound ablation) procedure, which is performed while the patient is inside an MRI scanner.

“This allows us to outline where the edge of the prostate is in relation to the urethra, rectum, and the nerve bundles, in order to avoid damage to those areas,” Dr. Sprenkle says.

In this video, Dr. Sprenkle discusses additional ablation techniques and clinical trials examining prostate cancer treatments.