David Kearney

The courage to go first

When David Kearney decided to be the first patient in North America to undergo a new prostate cancer treatment, he was thinking about his golf game.

“It was a shock to hear I had cancer because it had never crossed my mind. I immediately thought ‘surgery’ – just get rid of it. But it was early spring and I wanted to save my golf season,” he says. “So when my doctor referred me to Princess Margaret Hospital for a second opinion, I was open to hearing about other treatment options.”

The intriguing option was a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic resonance imaging and high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) to target and destroy tumours that are confined to an area of the prostate gland.

University Health Network is the first centre in North America and the fifth worldwide to use the procedure, called MR-Guided HIFU, explains radiologist Dr. Sangeet Ghai, who treated David and is co-leading a clinical research study. While focused ultrasound is not new, pairing it with MR guidance provides real-time feedback that ensures precision.

For men like David who meet the study criteria, MR-Guided HIFU may prove to be the answer that spares them anxiety and the unwelcome side effects of traditional treatments.

That it was a new procedure didn’t stop David, who saw only an opportunity he otherwise wouldn’t have.

“The stars aligned and I was eager to try this procedure,” says David. “My wife tells me that when it was over, my first words were ‘I’m No. 1!’”

And just a week or so later, David was back on the golf course, where he belongs.