Santa Rosa doctor journeys outside U.S. to practice new prostate cancer treatment

By GUY KOVNER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
March 23, 2014, 3:27 PM

Santa Rosa urologist Dr. Michael Lazar uses ultrasound waves that function as an 'acoustic scalpel' to treat prostate cancer in patients in Mexico. The procedure is undergoing clinical trials in the U.S. (Conner Jay / The Press Democrat)

Santa Rosa urologist Dr. Michael Lazar uses ultrasound waves that function as an ‘acoustic scalpel’ to treat prostate cancer in patients in Mexico. The procedure is undergoing clinical trials in the U.S. (Conner Jay / The Press Democrat)

When Dr. Michael Lazar makes weekend trips to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, it’s for business — to use a high-tech device to treat men with prostate cancer.

Lazar, a Santa Rosa urologist for 30 years, is the only Northern California physician regularly treating patients with high-intensity focused ultrasound, known as HIFU, which is currently not approved for use in the United States.

But HIFU, used for a decade or more in other countries, is “hands-down,” Lazar said, the best treatment for prostate cancer, the most non-skin common cancer in men and second only to lung cancer in deaths.

HIFU is the only non-invasive and radiation-free treatment for the disease, which was diagnosed in nearly 240,000 American men last year and caused almost 30,000 deaths, Lazar said.

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Phone adaptor gives doctors closer look at patients’ eyes

Stephanie M. Lee
San Francisco Chronicle
Published 4:27 pm, Sunday, April 27, 2014
Dr. David Myung (left), Alexandre Jais and Dr. Robert Chang test the EyeGo retina examination adapter, below, a device used with an iPhone that allows physicians to take pictures of the front and back of the eye. Photo: Paul Chinn, The Chronicle

Dr. David Myung (left), Alexandre Jais and Dr. Robert Chang test the EyeGo retina examination adapter, below, a device used with an iPhone that allows physicians to take pictures of the front and back of the eye. Photo: Paul Chinn, The Chronicle

The iPhone may be a phone that plays music and surfs the Internet, but it can also be a phone for the, well, eye.

Ophthalmologists at Stanford University School of Medicine recently developed small, inexpensive devices that allow smartphones to take high-quality photos of the front and back of the eye. The intent is to give eye doctors an easy way to share those images with each other, store the information in patients’ electronic records and remotely diagnose problems, said Dr. David Myung, who helped invent the technology called EyeGo.

The global market for ophthalmology diagnostics and surgical devices is expected to grow from $26 billion in 2012 to $40 billion in 2019, according to a Transparency Market Research report this month.

The need for such tools is increasing because eye-related disorders like diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration are becoming more widespread, especially among the growing elderly population, the report said.

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