Breast Thermography is a safe adjunctive state-of-the-art imaging option that utilizes computerized Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging, to help determine a woman's risk of developing breast cancer in the future and/or of currently having breast cancer.
Thermography is a safe imaging screening that measures thermovascular temperatures and patterns on the surface of the breasts, without the use of compression or radiation. These temperatures and patterns create a thermal map that can be monitored over time for stability and change, caused by physiological abnormalities such as inflammation and/or increased blood flow, possibly indicating a pre-cancerous condition or cancer development.
Thermal imaging can help determine if the temperature on the surface of your breast(s) is increasing by measuring the heat signature produced by metabolic activity and vascular structures. By creating a Thermal "fingerprint", vascular patterns and heat signatures can be monitored for stability and changes over a women's lifetime.
This empowers a woman with more information about her breast health. When a woman is alerted to physiological abnormalities, it gives her an opportunity to make changes. Healthy lifestyle choices (i.e. diet, natural hormonal balance, exercise, stress management, etc.) are crucial in our efforts to prevent disease. Partnering with a progressive/integrative healthcare practitioner is an important part of this effort.
Monitoring physiological changes related to inflammation and increased blood flow that could lead to and/or indicate pathology can be an important motivator for many women. Thermography can alert you and your doctor to changes at the earliest stages allowing for an opportunity to determine the best way to proceed.
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Comparing Thermography to Mammography is like trying to compare having your temperature taken with a thermometer, to getting a chest X-ray. They are completely different technologies.
Thermography is a harmless, no contact screening that collects data from the heat the body emits, allowing for an opportunity to monitor for physiological changes that may alert us to inflammation, potential disease development, tumor growth, and to other conditions.
Mammography is screening for disease that already exists. Mammography utilizes ionizing radiation, and compression to detect masses.
Do you have a fever?
Since medicine was first practiced, the temperature of the human body has been taken as a diagnostic sign. As early as 400 B.C. Hippocrates used his hand to judge the skin temperature of the sick. He also utilized clay on an area of concern and monitored how quickly it dried, as an indication of the severity of the abnormality.
We all know how serious it is when our body's core temperature is too"high". In layman's terms, Breast Thermography is taking the temperature of each breast. Both of our breasts should be symmetrically similar in temperature. Digital infrared thermal technology is extremely sensitive in measuring the temperature of a specific area on the skin to .05 of a degree, and the accuracy and specificity is approximately 90%. Making it incredibly easy to relocate the areas of interest on all future Thermograms of that unique woman.
In other words, Breast Thermography is extremely accurate in informing you and your doctor if one, or both of your breasts have a fever, hopefully years before it could become life threatening. This allows for an opportunity for further evaluation of the fever so efforts can be made to lower the temperatures of the abnormal region(s).
Though Thermography is a useful adjunct to Mammography, it is also an effective Risk Assessment option for women who are too young to have mammograms, and for those women who decline mammography.
Here are the United States Preventative Services Recommendations on mammography:
More and more doctors are offering Thermography due to recent reports and concerns regarding the risk medical radiation may pose in causing cancer, and the risk of compression possibly metastasizing (spreading) existing cancer. Thermography is also a great option for women who have dense breast. Mammograms are not as effective in evaluating dense breast tissue and additional screening options are encouraged.
AYDA-Federal.MQSA.RSNA.-12.7.11.pdf (PDF — 183 KB)
FDA Meeting Eyes Breast Density Issue 2011.pdf (PDF — 84 KB)
Breast Density Issue
Some Radiologists already offer breast density information to their patients, but unfortunately many do not. If you have had a mammogram, insist that your radiologist provide you with your breasts density information, it could save your life. Laws have been passed in Texas and Connecticut, making it mandatory for radiologists and doctors to provide patients with their breasts density information. Efforts are now being made at Federal Level.
Breast Thermography has no side effects or risks, and has been the Sentinel for thousands of doctors and women who have utilized the technology for decades.The recent advances in thermal imaging cameras and software have created an increasing interest in Breast Thermography. Women are now realizing the obvious, it is not wise to have a wait and see attitude. Preventative action must be taken at an early age, and a physiological screening that provides important data that is unique to each woman is a valuable tool.
Thermography risk assessment provides the opportunity to take action immediately instead of potentially waiting years before an anatomical test (i.e. mammogram, MRI, Ultrasound, etc.) may detect cancer. The information Thermography provides can also help improve the accuracy of finding cancer on other examinations, and can help aid in monitoring treatment.
What are our choices?
A woman should be proactive when it comes to her breast health. Choosing the right breast health screening options to serve a woman's individual needs and finding a doctor who respects her personal values is essential. All women are unique, so it is also important to partner with a progressive/integrative doctor in creating the best personal health care management plan possible, focused on disease prevention.
Breast Thermography is an adjunctive option and is not a stand alone technology or competitor to other breast health screenings. Additional breast health screening options (i.e. physical breast exam, ultrasound, MRI, mammogram, blood test, etc.) should be determined by you and your doctor.
Why haven't you heard about Breast Thermography before?
For decades mammograms have been regarded as the "gold standard" in breast cancer screening, but more and more women and doctors are looking for additional options such as Thermography because of heightened awareness of the risks posed by medical radiation, compression, and the limitations mammograms have in effectively imaging dense breasts. Thermography is also appealing because women can create their thermal fingerprint starting in their twenties. Helping to empower and motivate young women in their efforts to engage in their breast health, early on.
Why are proactive efforts and preventative opportunities for breast disease important?
President Nixon declared the "War on Cancer" 40 years ago, yet decades go by and we are still waiting for a "cure". This fact dictates that preventive therapies are our best option. Breast cancer is diagnosed every 2 minutes, and one woman dies from the disease every 13 minutes. 15% of breast cancer occurs in women under age 40. While early detection saves lives, prevention keeps the disease from interfering with the living of life.
Who interprets our patient's Thermograms?
Our patient Thermograms are interpreted by MDs and Board Certified Thermologists. It is very important that you have direct access to the doctor who evaluates your Thermogram, should you have any questions. Our comprehensive reports are designed with the patient in mind so you and your doctor can easily understand the data. We also provide your current and previous Thermograms for comparison.
Re-capping and Additional Notes of Interest
For over 30 years clinical Thermography has been accepted and developed. It gives women of all ages the opportunity to screen for breast abnormalities at an early stage. This is especially useful to those in a high risk group or with a history of breast cancer in their family.
The Index Medicus, a comprehensive index of medical scientific journal articles, references more than 800 peer-reviewed breast thermography studies, in which over 300,000 women participated. Many of these studies involved very large groups of patients (from 37,000 to over 100,000) and some have followed patients for as much as 12 years.
Patient's Breast Thermograms are kept on record to form a baseline profile for all future evaluations. Patient Thermogram patterns are like a thermal fingerprint which should not show significant change over time.
Breast Thermography has gained national prominence and widespread use due to the publicity received by radiation-based screening technologies in the guidelines issued by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Federal Government. It should not, however be considered a stand alone screening.
Until such time as a cure has been found for cancer, progress must be made in the fields of early detection and risk evaluation, coupled with sound clinical decision making. Thermography is an important part of this process.