A NON-invasive prostate cancer treatment billed as the biggest step forward in 20 years is effective, a study has confirmed.

Focal therapy prevents side-effects related to surgery and radiotherapy, and means patients can recover at home.

This procedure uses high-intensity ultrasound to heat cancer tissue with millimetre precision or cryotherapy to cool it.

Few public hospitals have the equipment and doctors are sceptical due to lack of long-term data.

But Imperial College London claims to have gathered enough evidence to support its general use.

Professor Hashim Ahmed, a leading prostate cancer expert, said: "Our study has shown that focal therapy carries up to ten-fold reductions in urine leak and sexual problems.

"Importantly, for the first time we have shown that it has similar cancer control at radical prostatectomy, at five to eight years after treatment.

"While focal therapy is not suitable for all patients, there are thousands every year who are suitable and they should be fully informed about it."

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the UK, with around 48,500 new cases every year.

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