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Electroporation (NanoKnife) treatment for localised prostate cancer

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Consultants who perform this procedure

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Why would I need electroporation (NanoKnife) treatment?

Electroporation (NanoKnife) treatment, also referred to as irreversible electroporation (IRE) treatment, is used to treat some men with prostate cancer.

What symptoms does electroporation (NanoKnife) treatment address?

This procedure is relatively new and is currently only available privately at King Edward VII’s Hospital. Your surgical team will be able to discuss your suitability for the procedure with you.

Electroporation (NanoKnife) can treat newly diagnosed or a returning prostate cancer that hasn’t spread to any other part of your body.

The symptoms of prostate cancer can include:

  • The need to pass urine more often, especially during the night
  • An urgent need to pass urine
  • Difficulty in starting to pass urine
  • A weak flow or trickling when you pass urine
  • A feeling that you haven’t emptied your bladder even though you’ve just been to the toilet
  • Blood in your urine or semen

However, the majority of men who have treatment for localised prostate cancer haven’t had any symptoms. They are likely to have had a blood test for prostate cancer that was high for their age.

When should you speak to your specialist about electroporation (NanoKnife) treatment?

If you have any of the symptoms of prostate cancer, speak to your GP as soon as possible. If you have prostate cancer, you will be able to speak to your specialist doctor about your treatment options, including if you might be suitable for electroporation (NanoKnife) treatment.

How is electroporation (NanoKnife) treatment performed?

This type of treatment is carried out under a general anaesthetic and takes around 45 minutes. The procedure is performed as a day case.

NanoKnife treatment involves no knives at all. The treatment is delivered via a needle puncture through the skin. Your surgeon will use ultrasound to locate your prostate tumour and then insert up to four needles around it.

Then the NanoKnife machine passes an electric current through the needles, damaging the cell membranes of the cancerous cells which then shrink and die.

What is the recovery like for electroporation (NanoKnife) treatment?

Your recovery from electroporation (NanoKnife) treatment will depend on multiple factors, including your age, fitness level and the nature of your procedure.

You may have a catheter fitted, which is a long thin tube that drains urine from the bladder, as your prostate may be swollen which can make it difficult to urinate normally. This should only last a few days and your medical team will advise you on looking after your catheter.

Within a week to ten days you will then have an MRI scan to check that your prostate tumour has responded to the treatment. Your urologist will then advise you of your next steps.

Are there any risks/complications associated with electroporation (NanoKnife) treatment?

As with any medical procedure, it’s possible for risks or complications to arise. Speaking with your specialist or urologists beforehand will help you understand the potential for any adverse reactions.

Electroporation (NanoKnife) treatment has a relatively low risk of serious complications, but some men can experience some urinary symptoms after the procedure. You will need to have your prostate monitored using MRI and PSA tests after the procedure.

How can I prepare for electroporation (NanoKnife) treatment?

Prior to electroporation (NanoKnife) treatment, your surgeon will discuss with you how best to prepare for surgery, as each patient is different.

Are there alternatives electroporation (NanoKnife) treatment?

There are various treatments for prostate cancer and each patient is different. Your specialist will discuss your options with you and help you decide which treatment is best for you.

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