Dr. Richard David like to help people and solve problems. From a young age he was fascinated by the medical process of being able to identify and fix a problem. This is what eventually led him to practice medicine and choose urology as a specialty.
Explore more about Dr. David by reading the interview below about how he got involved with HIFU and what he tells patients about treating prostate cancer.
1. What was your main motivation in becoming a doctor? When did you decide on this path?
When I was young, I developed appendicitis. I had an appendectomy and was fascinated by the process. I always liked taking things apart and fixing them. Medicine and surgery were the ultimate way to fulfill my interests.
2. How did you decide on your particular specialty? Why urology?
I knew I wanted to be a surgeon. While I was in medical school, I saw that most urologic patients had a fixable problem and tended to get better. My professor was a great surgeon and I wanted to be just like him.
3. What is your favorite part about being a physician?
I love the feeling of knowing I have taken care of a problem well. I enjoy the detective game to diagnose a problem and then come up with a solution. I also enjoy the high-tech equipment we use to treat patients. It’s always changing and improving how we do things.
4. When did you first learn about HIFU as a treatment for prostate cancer?
About 15 years ago I was treating prostate cancer with cryosurgery and brachytherapy. Using high energy ultrasound was a natural progression of using heat to destroy cancerous tissue with the least effect on a patient’s health.
5. When did you become involved in treating patients using HIFU technology?
I began before HIFU was available in the US. I would travel with patients out of the country to do their treatment.
6. Why did you initially become interested in HIFU as a treatment for prostate cancer?
I was treating patients with cryosurgery and brachytherapy and there were some significant side effects associated with those procedures. HIFU accomplishes the same thing but the patients often have a much easier time with HIFU.
7. What do you typically tell a patient when they are first diagnosed with prostate cancer?
First, we discuss whether treatment is necessary since many patients may not benefit from treatment. Secondly, we discuss surgery, radiation, brachytherapy, cryosurgery and HIFU. We discuss the risks and benefits and then which treatments would suit the man’s cancer, goals, and desires.
8. In your professional opinion, what are the benefits of HIFU as a treatment for prostate cancer?
It is an effective minimally-invasive treatment.
9. How do you decide if HIFU is right for a patient?
We discuss the size of the tumor and location as well as the patient’s goals and desires.
10. In general, how quickly do your patients recover after HIFU? What do you tell men to expect?
For focal treatment, I leave a catheter in place for 2-3 days. After the catheter is removed, patients may have a little frequency and urgency but they are able to resume activity. Urination returns to normal within 2 weeks.
11. There are obviously a lot of different treatments for prostate cancer; where do you think HIFU best fits in the prostate cancer landscape?
I think HIFU is the ideal option for a patient with a smaller tumor who wants to maintain erections and urine control.
12. 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?
I tell men that it is still in their best interest to identify cancer early when they have a lot of treatment options. Not everyone who has cancer needs treatment. I recommend a screening PSA at age 40.
Want to learn more about Dr. David? Read his full bio here.
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