HIFU Physician Spotlight: Dr. Lawrence Newman

Lawrence Newman, MD
Lawrence Newman, MD

Dr. Lawrence Newman is a board certified urologist practicing in Las Vegas, Nevada. Dr. Newman’s extensive experience in prostate cancer in the spectrum from diagnosis to treatment includes the technique of transperineal mapping biopsies, Space-Oar Implantation, cryotherapy, and the brachytherapy approach to prostate cancer radiation as well as minimally invasive treatment options for prostate cancer like HIFU, or high intensity focused ultrasound.

Read below about how he became interested in medicine as a profession and how he discusses prostate  treatments options with his patients.

1. What was your main motivation in becoming a doctor? When did you decide on this path?
I volunteered at a local hospital when I was 14 years old and became instantly attracted to the way doctors were intellectual challenged yet had very personal interactions with patients. The opportunity to do something that required skill and knowledge coupled with the need for compassion to help patients physically as well as emotionally was something I was very interested in from early on.

2. How did you decide on your particular specialty? Why urology?
I was interested in a specialty which included procedures as well as direct patient care. Of the surgical specialties, I liked that in urology you can really help a large proportion of patients that you see.

3. What is your favorite part about being a physician?
Utilizing the constantly changing medical knowledge base to help patients live better lives.

4. When did you first learn about HIFU as a treatment for prostate cancer?
I first learned about HIFU when I went to observe some HIFU cases in Mexico about 15 years ago.

5. When did you become involved in treating patients using HIFU technology?
I have been following the development of HIFU ever since I observed it. My personal experience along with the combination of FDA approval in the US and the excellent data published, led me to start a HIFU program in Las Vegas.

6. What do you typically tell a patient when they are first diagnosed with prostate cancer?
I review all the pertinent aspects of their biopsy results and help them understand how we as urologists stratify their risks and treatment choices based on PSA, Gleason scores, age, health, and any other supplemental tests such as imaging when indicated.

7. What different types of treatments do you offer men with localized prostate cancer?
For localized prostate cancer, I offer multiple options including active surveillance, external radiation,  brachytherapy, radical prostatectomy, and of course HIFU. Cryotherapy can be offered in select situations.

8. In your professional opinion, what are the benefits of HIFU as a treatment for prostate cancer?
The main benefits of HIFU include excellent treatment results along with fewer side effects than other treatments. The fact that the Sonablate HIFU lesions are 1cm high and 0.3cm in diameter allow for very precise anatomical treatment and preservation of the nerves responsible for potency.

9. How do you decide if HIFU is right for a patient?
I feel that my job is to teach the patient about all the options that apply to them and then the patient decides on his treatment.

10. In general, how quickly do your patients recover after HIFU? What do you tell men to expect?
Generally, they feel very well by the next day with minimal residual discomfort. After a week or so, we start clamping the catheter tube that is inserted during HIFU, and then remove it as soon as the patient is urinating comfortably.

11. There are obviously a lot of different treatments for prostate cancer; where do you think HIFU best fits in the prostate cancer landscape?
The highest motivations for patients choosing HIFU are the desire to minimize their risk of erectile dysfunction, have a treatment that just takes a few hours, and a rapid recovery.

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?
Urologists have learned over the years that active surveillance can be an option in some patients and urologists have been very proactive in adjusting protocols for prostate cancer screening and treatment. The government guidelines that were changed a few years ago did a lot of damage by delaying diagnosis in many patients with aggressive prostate cancer that were not identified as early as they could have been and fortunately the guidelines were adjusted again recently to address that.

To read about Dr. Newman further, click here for his bio.

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