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Nanoknife gives Cabrini prostate patients new treatment option


Cabrini patients now have a new option for prostate cancer treatment – the Irreversible Electroporation (IRE) machine.

With thanks to major donors who funded the “nanoknife” machine, our first two cases were successfully treated last week.

Cabrini diagnoses and treats one of the largest numbers of prostate cancer cases of any institution, both public and private in Victoria, providing patients with access to the highest level of diagnostic equipment, as well as world-class surgeons, radiation and medical oncologists, supported by our allied health team in the Wellness Centre.

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in men and the second leading cause of cancer deaths. In Victoria, one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer before the age of 75.

Localised prostate cancer is usually treated with surgery called a radical prostatectomy or via radiation therapy. However, both surgery and radiation therapy can cause some quality-of-life side effects detrimental to the patient, such as incontinence, bowel disturbances and erectile dysfunction.

IRE is an emerging technique that combines the ability to diagnose prostate cancer with precision using MRI guided biopsies, and if the cancer is identified in one region on the prostate only, this can be treated in isolation, otherwise known as focal therapy. There are other energy sources used for focal therapy, and IRE is another excellent energy source whereby cancer cells are targeted, hopefully leaving normal structures intact and unaffected.

Not previously available at Cabrini, IRE is a minimally invasive surgical technique with a rapid recovery used in the treatment of prostate cancer.

It uses an electrical current delivered with precision to the previously diagnosed cancerous area to destroy cell membranes, killing cancer cells, while leaving surrounding healthy cells untouched.

An emerging technique, it is not suitable for every patient with prostate cancer, and still carries some minor risks but adds to the broad range of techniques that Cabrini offers to provide state of the art care, both diagnosis and treatment,  to all our prostate cancer patients and families.

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