Medical lessons from the past live on

Microwave thermotherapy, a non-surgical, office based, long lasting treatment for benign prostatic enlargement is an excellent choice to relieve the annoying symptoms this common male problem causes. The answer to the question “Is it for everyone?” is – “almost everyone,” as long as the diagnosis has been correctly made.

So how is the diagnosis of benign prostate hyperplasia, commonly known as “BPH,” made? My teacher in medicine, I am proud to say was Professor Isidore Snapper (1889-1973). Dr. Snapper had fled Holland in 1938 to escape Hitler and the German NAZI (National Socialist) onslaught and came to the Rockefeller Foundation in the United States. From there he enjoyed an illustrious career as Professor of Medicine in major universities and teaching hospitals throughout the world including Peiping Union Medical College in China, Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, Cook County Hospital in Chicago and finally Beth-El Hospital in Brooklyn, which he transformed into the Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, one of the three major teaching hospitals in Brooklyn.

Dr. Snapper often said that a diagnosis is made mostly by history. That meant taking the time to listen carefully to the patient and ask pertinent questions. Second in importance was the physical examination and third were the results of laboratory and X-Ray studies. Sonograms, MRI, CAT scans, PET scans, so valuable and important today, were yet to be invented but non-the-less, the patient’s history remains the preeminent and most valuable tool in establishing a diagnosis. Medical lessons of the past live on.

When the patient describes that he is suffering with a variety of symptoms including a slow stream, hesitancy in starting the stream, an interrupted or intermittent flow, urinary frequency, urgency, incomplete emptying, prolonged urination with dribbling, incontinence, the need to push or strain to urinate, sleep deprivation, caused by night time urination, and blood in the urine, the diagnosis that comes first to mind is benign prostate enlargement.

The most common cause of blood in the urine in men ages 40 to 90 is benign prostate enlargement. Of course, other causes of bleeding must always be ruled out. Cancer of the prostate on the other hand does not usually cause urinary bleeding. All these symptoms described above do not usually occur all at the same time and when they do occur, present with varying degrees of severity and in many different combinations.

It’s the carefully taken history that permits the doctor to recognize the patterns of symptoms that lead to the correct diagnosis. Without the correct diagnosis, there is not likely to be correct treatment. These days, when the diagnosis of benign prostate enlargement has been accurately made, the treatment of choice for most men is TherMatrx microwave thermotherapy. This non-surgical treatment, done in the office, does not require hospitalization or anesthesia and is successful in the great majority of patients.

Have a question? Call Dr. Okun at 718-241-6767

More from Around NYC