Paul Arnold, MD practices urology in Palm Harbor, FL and wanted to be a doctor from a young age so he could help people, much like doctors helped him. Learn more about Dr. Arnold and his view on treating prostate cancer and using HIFU below. Read his complete bio here.
1. What was your main motivation for becoming a doctor? When did you decide on this path?
I decided to become a physician at a young age. Growing up as an athlete, I suffered many broken bones and other orthopedic injuries. I was healed by an orthopedic surgeon that I saw as my hero. This inspired me to become a physician and do the same for my patients in some capacity.
2. How did you decide on your particular specialty? Why urology?
I always knew I wanted to be a surgeon. As luck would have it, I was exposed to urology as a 3rd year medical student and really enjoyed the variety of urologic surgeries.
3. What is your favorite part about being a physician?
My favorite part of being a physician is the ability to help other people. The satisfaction I obtain by resolving other people’s medical problems.
4. When did you first learn about HIFU as a treatment for prostate cancer?
I first learned about HIFU at an AUA meeting over 10 years ago. I was already interested in minimally invasive therapies so I traveled to train at a HIFU Training Program in Nassau, Bahamas sponsored by International HIFU, now SonaCare Medical, in 2009.
5. When did you become involved in treating patients using HIFU technology?
I began offering HIFU to my patients immediately after I completed the HIFU Training Program in Nassau and returned to treat my patients.
6. Why did you initially become interested in HIFU as a treatment for prostate cancer?
Like I said above, I have always been interested in minimally invasive procedures, so HIFU was a good fit in my practice. I was impressed with the high success rates of curing prostate cancer and saving a man’s sexual nerves simultaneously.
7. What do you typically tell a patient when they are first diagnosed with prostate cancer?
When I diagnose a man with prostate cancer, I tell them that we are going to become friends for a long time.This is a slow growing type of cancer and we need to think about the next 10-15 years when considering treatment options.
8. What different types of treatments do you offer men with localized prostate cancer?
I offer men all types of treatment for localized prostate cancer ranging from Active Surveillance, Brachytherapy, IGRT, Cryotherapy, Robotic Radical Prostatectomy, and of course, HIFU. I typically see that 30% of new prostate cancer diagnosed patients can do watchful waiting.
9. In your professional opinion, what are the benefits of HIFU as a treatment for prostate cancer?
I see the benefits of HIFU as high success or cure rates for localized prostate cancer, low rates of erectile dysfunction, low incidence of urinary incontinence (no leaking of urine), no bleeding and post-operative pain, and a quick and easy recovery period.
10. How do you decide if HIFU is right for a patient?
First of all, I never decide for the patient. The decision is one that the patient, and possibly their family member, and I make together and we choose the treatment based on what is best for the patient and their type of cancer. Size of the prostate gland, number of positive cores. Gleason score, morbidity, current health of the patient, and current erectile function all play a role in this decision. If the patient is a good candidate for HIFU, they are always offered HIFU as an option and we discuss it thoroughly.
11. In general, how quickly do your patients recover after HIFU? What do you tell men to expect?
Patients recover from HIFU relatively quickly. I tell them that they will recover within a few days and they will have minimal pain and will not require postoperative narcotics. These patients will have a foley or a suprapubic catheter for approximately 3-14 days depending of the size of their prostate and the type of HIFU treatment we perform.
12. There are obviously a lot of different treatments for prostate cancer; where do you think HIFU best fits in the prostate cancer landscape?
HIFU fits very well for a subset of patients and especially patients whose glands are less than 40 grams and have good erections preoperatively.
13. In recent years there has been some discussion about over treating prostate cancer and even changing guidelines on when men should start getting regular screening for prostate cancer. What do you tell men?
PSA is still the best and gold standard for prostate cancer screening. Knowledge is Power. Just because we diagnose prostate cancer does not necessarily mean that we need to treat the cancer. I perform active surveillance and watchful waiting on about 30 % of new prostate cancer diagnoses.
14. When you aren’t practicing medicine what do you like to do?
When I am not practicing medicine, I enjoy spending time with my family, riding my bicycle, and training for triathlons by swimming, biking and running. I like to stay active!