Disputed Cancer Therapy Sparks Rush to Border

Docs debate prostate treatment that can't be performed in US
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2008 12:10 PM CST
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, may be a hit with the spring break crowd, but it also offers a more relaxed side at places such as the Premiere Resort and Spa.   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – A prostate cancer treatment not approved in the US is drawing patients to Mexico despite American doctors' doubts about its effectiveness and reputed minimal side effects, the New York Times reports. High-intensity focused ultrasound heats the prostate to temperatures near boiling but involves neither surgery nor radiation. Practitioners say it carries less risk of impotence and incontinence than traditional treatments.

Since 2004, one US-based company has treated more than 1,000 men, some of whom say their cancer is not gone. One American doctor sees a red flag in the fact that the procedure, which is legal in the EU and Canada, is a windfall for doctors: “Anytime anyone’s printing money, doing what’s right for the patient gets a little blurry.”