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November 24, 2016 Blog

The team at NCHIFU provides unparalleled customer service, attention to detail, and continuity of care; from your first phone call to arrange a consultation, to post-operative care following your procedure, and every step in between.

Meet Dr. Frank Tortora, a graduate of Yale University and Emory University School of Medicine with Cum Laude honors. Dr. Tortora started his career with an internship and residency at UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill where he now assists the UNC School of Medicine as a Clinical Associate Professor in the departments of Surgery and Family Practice. Dr. Tortora is a certified Diplomate of Urology having traveled with patients to the Bahamas and Mexico to perform HIFU before it was approved in the United States.

This kind of dedication to care is something that every patient that walks through the door of NC HIFU will experience. Dr. Tortora’s patients have hailed him as “excellent at what he does!!!” (online review) and he’s considered an expert in his field, and ranked as an “experienced user” by SonaCare Medical, the device manufacturer of the Sonablate® system. He’s been constantly sought after nationally by developers of new urological techniques and treatments, as well as taking part in various panel discussions on urological matters. Having helped bring HIFU to North Carolina, Dr. Tortora is an expert in robotic surgery and surgeries aiding in the treatment of male sexual dysfunction.

Dr. Tortora is one of 16 board-certified urologists with Associated Urologists of North Carolina, and is the only urologist in the Triangle, to the coast, north to Richmond and south to Myrtle Beach, who is certified to perform HIFU with NCHIFU. Dr. Tortora is ready and willing to provide you or a loved one with that personal care combined with the revolutionary treatment of HIFU.


November 19, 2016 Blog

Hearing the word “cancer” is something that no one wants to experience. However, one in seven men will hear that word as it pertains to their prostate over their lifetime.  Despite the diagnosis there are treatment options that allow the patient alternatives to invasive surgery. HIFU can greatly enhance their quality of life throughout their treatment.

High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) offers a solution; and NC HIFU is the first and only practice in Raleigh and the Triangle to implement the Sonablate® technology.  It is the first ultrasound technology of its kind to be cleared by the FDA to treat prostate tissue directly with sound waves. Is it right for you?  To find out, read below to learn a little more about the procedure.

HIFU is one of several treatment options for early-stage prostate cancer.  When the disease is confined in the prostate gland, we call this “localized cancer” because it has yet to spread outside of the prostate capsule where it can travel to other parts of the body.  Catching prostate cancer early gives men the non-surgical option of HIFU.

As for all treatment options for prostate cancer, there are many factors that go into choosing which would be best for you and your lifestyle.  These include a patient’s age and overall health; the stage of his cancer; the aggressiveness of his cancer; his current quality of life, including sexual activity.  The goal of treatment is to eliminate the cancer with little to no impact on urinary, sexual and bowel function. Thus, many factors go into making a treatment decision.  The first step in deciding if HIFU is right for you, is to have a HIFU consultation.   

HIFU is an excellent choice for patients with localized cancer who want better results than surgery or radiation.  It’s an excellent choice for patients who want minimal risk of negative side effects and a quick return to their normal activity level.   

When meeting for your HIFU consult, you will be able to discuss your thoughts and concerns in greater detail and make an informed decision if HIFU is right for you here in North Carolina. 


November 4, 2016 Blog

If you don’t already know the statistics, now is a good time to learn them. Nearly one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. But there are ways you can live your life to lower your risk of getting prostate cancer, and they may be easier than you’d think.  Simple changes in lifestyle may reduce your risk:  

Eat More Red Fruits

Yes, you read that correctly, eat more fruits that are red. You might have to throw your allegiance to your favorite sports team out of the window, but it’s worth it for your health. Red foods can attribute their coloring to a wonderful antioxidant called Lycopene. Studies have shown that men who consume more Lycopene have a reduced chance of getting prostate cancer. Do you like tomatoes? If so, then you’re in luck, the redder the tomato the higher in Lycopene. Cooking them down to a sauce or roasting them makes it easier for your body to absorb the antioxidant too.  If not, watermelons, grapefruit and apricots are good options.  

Source: 1

Take Your Diet For A Swim

Eating more fish can also greatly lower your chances of getting Prostate Cancer. This is attributed to the fatty acid, known as omega-3, that’s found in most fish. If you’re looking to get the most omega-3’s, try to eat sardines, tuna, mackerel, trout, and salmon. Pro Tip:  if you’re eating a low-fat diet, try and supplement with omega-3 fish oil pills.

Source: 1

Breathe Healthily

If you are a smoker, consider quitting for general health reasons but also because smoking may contribute to contracting a more aggressive form of prostate cancer and increase your risk of ultimately dying from the disease.  

Source: 1

Exercise, Exercise, Exercise

Maintaining a healthy weight may decrease your risk of prostate cancer.  The best way to lose weight and reduce your body mass index (BMI) is to increase exercise and decrease calorie intake.  Exercise and a healthy diet has a significant influence in prostate cancer prevention.  

Source: 1


November 1, 2016 Blog

While September is primarily known as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, there is never a bad time to raise awareness for prostate cancer as it will affect one in seven men in their lifetime. You may even engage in Prostate Cancer Awareness activities without even knowing that they are actually helping with the research of Prostate Cancer (more on that later). But for now, here are some great ways to help fight prostate cancer by raising awareness and, if you feel led, you can even donate to fund research.


Zero began in 1996 as one of the first Prostate Cancer Awareness organizations and can be credited with helping Congress focus more on the awareness and research to fight the spread of prostate cancer.  Zero’s goal is to create Generation Zero, the first generation of men free from prostate cancer. Additionally, in 2002, Zero pioneered the Drive Against Prostate Cancer program which is the free mobile prostate cancer screening bus.  In communities around the nation, the program has tested more than 120,000 at-risk men alerting them to potentially life-saving information. When you donate to Zero, 94 cents of every dollar goes to patient support programs, research for better diagnostics, and activities that create awareness. Learn more about them here.


The Movember Foundation

What started as two guys in Australia growing mustaches for fun has turned into a global charity phenomenon that has raised over $700 million to bring awareness to prostate cancer and invest in vital men’s health initiatives.  The Movember foundation had just 30 participants in 2003, and has grown to over 5 million to date.  All donations are distributed to a broad range of programs and to trusted men’s health partners. Learn more about them here.


No-Shave November

Similar to Movember, No-Shave November embraces all of the hair on a man’s face because hair is often something most Cancer patients lose first. They ask that participants donate the money they’d usually spend on grooming products for the month (razors, shaving cream, lotions, etc) and instead that money will go to educate about cancer prevention, save lives, and aid those fighting the battle. Participants can set up their own No-Shave November fundraising page where they can ask their friends and others to donate to the cause. Learn more about them here.


The Prostate Cancer Research Institute

While it may not have a flashy name or a fun facial hair themed game to go along with it, The Prostate Cancer Research Institute is dedicated to helping patients research their treatment options. Their motto is that  “by educating yourself about the disease, you will have more productive interactions with your medical professionals, and get better individualized care.” They promote awareness and help fund research with donations. Learn more about them here.


Awareness is part of the battle, but another great tool is donating to these organizations and other nonprofits that help fund Prostate Cancer research. To donate to any of the previously listed organizations simply click on the donate link in their respective paragraphs.


October 26, 2016 Blog

September has come and gone in a flash and with its passing also slipped by a very important month to the health community. Did you know that September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month? Most don’t, but we’re hoping to change that as we establish ourselves more in the greater Raleigh community.

In fact, Prostate Cancer Awareness Month has been around since 1999! That was the first year the American Foundation for Urological Disease (AFUD) designated September as National Prostate Health Month. AFUD has since changed its name to the Urology Care Foundation, however. Originally, observing this month was dedicated to making the public better informed about prostate health issues.  But, in 2001, Sen. Conrad Burns sponsored Senate Resolution 138, endorsing the week and affirming that Prostate Health Month would be observed yearly. It even became so important that in 2003 a presidential proclamation by George W. Bush supported the month. Instead of designating the month to be for prostate health, it was specifically named the “National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.” And that’s what we still celebrate throughout September.

Prostate cancer is a complex disease with multiple subtypes, some aggressive and lethal, others non-aggressive and non-life-threatening. The majority of prostate cancer occurs as a slow-growing form of the disease that poses little threat to men’s mortality. One in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.  One way to learn more about both non-aggressive, slow-growing forms of the disease and aggressive forms of prostate cancer is through conversations with their urologist. The goal of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month is to not only raise awareness and funding to support clinical research, but to also get men to go to the doctor and have these conversations.

The popularity of Prostate Cancer Awareness is spreading, but we can only hope to shed more light on awareness and better treatments for this disease. Through initiatives spearheaded by The Prostate Cancer Education Council and the popularity of the sports industry has helped spread awareness of prostate health and treatment options.  For example, NFL teams dedicate home games to prostate cancer awareness, golf tournaments, and 5k races distribute informational material to audiences and participants in exchange for the incentive of prizes. And the interest continues.  Prostate Cancer awareness has expanded past September.  The MOVEMBER movement has become one of the most popular and fun ways to bring attention to and raise funds for Prostate Cancer.

Prostate Cancer is something that will affect a large percentage of men and their families in their lifetime. NC HIFU is committed to bringing awareness and continuing to provide another treatment option for men with early-stage prostate cancer. While it may no longer be September, there is still a chance to donate, support, and spread awareness of prostate cancer. We can all make a difference.


October 18, 2016 Blog

By now you’ve probably heard the word “HIFU” either on the news or in other various means be it through online blogs or social media.  If you want to know exactly what HIFU is then we suggest reading our ‘About’ page here.  But what are the benefits of HIFU for prostate cancer?  We’ll lay that out below and hopefully will answer any questions you may have about this treatment.  However, if you want to learn more or speak with us personally, please give us a call or visit us today.

So, why HIFU for prostate cancer?  Well, aside from the personal and patient-centered care, the minimally invasive nature of High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) allows for prostate cancer to be operated on at earlier stages, giving patients more options, flexibility, and control in their health care.

HIFU offers a solution for men with early-stage prostate cancer, and NC HIFU is the first and only practice in the greater Raleigh to implement the Sonablate ® — the first ultrasound technology of its kind to be cleared by the FDA to treat prostate tissue directly with sound waves.  With HIFU as an option, individuals can approach their prostate cancer diagnosis with the confidence of knowing they have alternatives to invasive surgery which can greatly enhance their quality of life throughout their treatment.

Below are the benefits of HIFU, feel free to share these with anyone you know who may be considering treatment or has a loved one or friend doing the same.


  • Minimally invasive procedure ablates only targeted tissue
  • A reduction in the side effect profile as opposed to more radical procedures
  • A reduction in procedure times
  • Repeatable, radiation-free treatment
  • Customized treatment
  • Treatment for maximum precision and safety
  • Resume activities of daily living sooner
  • Better quality of life after treatment


  • Sound-based, tissue sparing, surgical intervention across specialties
  • More favorable outcomes via “non-cutting” approach
  • Multi-modality imaging “sees” the outside and inside of the targeted area
  • The risk of incontinence and impotence are markedly decreased
  • Increases the number of patients appropriate for surgical intervention
  • Reduces the costs associated with surgical intervention

AT NC HIFU we believe that a personal touch goes a long way.  We understand the stress and worry related to dealing with or knowing someone who deals with cancer and its treatments – that’s why we are here to help.


October 15, 2016 Blog

Perhaps you’ve heard the term HIFU floating around recently, or maybe you know someone suffering from prostate cancer who has decided to undergo HIFU treatment? Or, you may be asking yourself “what is HIFU?” Well, hopefully we are here to help clear all that up and perhaps make your life, and potential road to recovery, a lot easier. Well to introduce ourselves, first, we need to explain just what HIFU is. To put it simply, High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, or HIFU, is a revolutionary, minimally invasive procedure used to treat prostate cancer with almost no side effects or inpatient stays.

We are NC HIFU and we are the first, and only, practice in Raleigh and The Triangle to implement the Sonablate ® — the first ultrasound technology of its kind to be cleared by the FDA to directly treat prostate tissue with sound waves. With HIFU as an option, individuals can approach their prostate cancer diagnosis with the confidence of knowing they have alternatives to invasive surgery.  HIFU can greatly enhance their quality of life throughout their treatment. Additionally, the shorter recovery period allows you to resume your daily activities sooner and will radically reduce the side effects compared to other treatments.

We aim to bring a personal touch to the prostate cancer treatment journey.  NC HIFU understands that when patients here the “C” word, things can get scary. That’s why we’re patient-focused and prepared to begin the road to recovery together. Our mission statement echoes this belief and states:

“NC HIFU provides High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU), a non-invasive, alternative treatment option for men with early stage prostate cancer. HIFU revolutionizes prostate cancer treatment by preserving the quality of life for patients. We serve the prostate cancer community by providing patient-centered care along with a concierge service approach.”

Want to learn more about who we are and what we do?  Below are some of the features and benefits that HIFU can bring you or your loved one.  If you’d like to know more, please visit our “About” page or give us a call 877-884-HIFU(4438).  We’ll make sure we are with you every step of the way.


  • Sound-based, tissue sparing, customized procedure
  • More favorable outcomes via “non-cutting” approach
  • Multi-modality imaging “sees” the outside and inside of the targeted area
  • The risk of incontinence and impotence are markedly decreased
  • Treatment for maximum precision and safety


  • Minimally invasive procedure ablates only targeted tissue
  • A reduction in the side effect profile as opposed to other treatment modalities
  • A reduction in recovery times
  • Allows return to activities of daily living sooner
  • Outpatient procedure


September 28, 2016 Blog

The revolutionary new cancer treatment alternative HiFu is getting world-wide recognition and press. Our Dr. Tortora was recently featured at the local news TV station and website WRAL-TV and

Check out the article about our procedure, success and a little bit about the history of our story.

“You can treat multiple times. You can also do surgery if there’s a recurrence, or you could do radiation if there’s a recurrence,” Dr. Tortora said.

About 15,000 patients worldwide have been treated with HIFU. Right now, however, private insurers don’t cover the procedure, which has an average cost of about $25,000.


July 15, 2016 Blog

AUNC is committed to bringing our patients the most technologically advanced medical treatment options, so we are proud to offer HIFU to patients with stage one or stage two prostate cancer. HIFU, a non-invasive treatment approved by the FDA in October, 2015, presents a gentler treatment option with fewer side effects, such as erectile dysfunction and incontinence than treatments like radiation.

Since the FDA did not approve the procedure until recently, American men have needed to travel abroad in order to receive this treatment. Now, men in the Raleigh-Durham region can have access to and receive this alternative treatment option.

How It Works

The HIFU procedure removes cancerous cells without making a single incision or utilizing a scalpel by using Sonablate ultrasound technology to remove cancerous cells. The welcome result is an outpatient procedure usually doesn’t even require pain medication. HIFU’s non-invasive technique also does away with concerns about dealing with erectile disfunction and urination problems that often come with invasive prostate surgery.

HIFU is performed by customizing a transducer to match the patient’s body, which then focuses sound waves in only the specific, small area of cancerous tissue. This allows healthcare professionals to treat prostate cancer with next to no damage to healthy cells.


HIFU is ideal for men with slow-growing lesions on their prostate gland that are being watched. The treatment can help men with prostate cancer who are seeking alternative treatment and would like to benefit from a less invasive treatment with a shorter recovery time.

Note: prostate cancer is the most common cancer found in men, and it is the second leading cancer-related cause of death in men. If you are a stage one or stage two patient, HIFU is an option for you.

If you would like to know more about AUNC’s relationship with the HIFU procedure, please visit our partner site at NCHIFU. There, you will find more background information about the procedure, patient testimonials, and a contact portal (located at the bottom of the home page) that will help you set up an appointment.

Call us at: (877) 884-HIFU (4438)


July 1, 2016 Blog

High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, or HIFU, is an exciting new treatment for prostate cancer that is all the buzz in the medical community. Although, to say it’s new is not quite accurate since it’s been used successfully internationally for years. But HIFU is new in the United States and here in North Carolina’s Research Triangle. Just last October, the FDA approved the procedure after seeing the evidence of over 50,000 men who successfully treated early-stage prostate cancer.

HIFU is non-invasive, has virtually zero recovery time, and because it targets only the unhealthy cells, it rarely has side-effects like erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence that other prostate cancer treatments see. So, with all the exciting news and the safe, effective track-record, you may be wondering, where can I find a urologist certified to use HIFU?

As you may be aware, North Carolina is one of the top places in the world for medical and technological research. Because of that, it’s no coincidence that our state is the homebase of the HIFU procedure, made by SonaCare Medical. SonaCare is based in Charlotte, and in fact, there are more HIFU-trained urologists in North Carolina than any state other than Florida. We have more than New York and New Jersey combined.

As a procedure that is relatively new though, you may be wondering if these doctors have the experience yet to perform the procedure safely. Thankfully, because HIFU uses high intensity ultrasound waves to carefully target only cancerous cells, it is actually a much safer procedure than surgery or radiation. In addition, here in the Raleigh Durham area, we are lucky to have Dr. Frank Tortora, who has been performing this procedure for years.

Dr. Tortora, based in Cary, North Carolina, would fly with patients to Mexico or the Bahamas to do the procedure before the FDA finally decided to approve it. Not only has Dr. Tortora practiced this procedure for 10 years and with over 100 HIFU cases, but he’s been practicing urology in general for 30 years. Those living in the Triangle area of North Carolina are fortunate to have a man of his experience working in their region.

North Carolina has really shown itself to be a key part of the global progress in medical advancement of recent years. One of these advancements our state should be proud of is the use of high intensity focused ultrasound on prostate cancer cells. HIFU is an important step forward in the fight against prostate cancer, which is the most diagnosed cancer in men. Men in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary, Wake Forest, Clayton, Dunn, Clinton and the surrounding areas should contact Associated Urologists of North Carolina to see if a HIFU procedure with Dr. Frank Tortora would be right for them. We can be reached at (877) 884-HIFU (4438).

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