According to the International Academy of Clinical Thermology, “Breast thermography is a thermovascular detection procedure that images the breasts to aid in the early detection of breast cancer.”
Thermography detects subtle physiologic changes. Utilizing state-of-the-art ultra-sensitive digital infrared technology, thermographic cameras produce high-resolution images that provide information to assist women and their doctors in the early detection of cancer, fibrocystic disease, infection or vascular challenges.
It is an invaluable tool used to monitor breast health, specifically identifying abnormal physiology indicating possible risk factors for the development or existence of cancer. This is a non-invasive procedure that uses no radiation or compression to the breast and is a valuable adjunct to self-examination and mammography. With annual thermographic imaging, physiology of the breast can be monitored year over year to evaluate a woman’s risk for developing breast cancer.
How is it different than a mammogram? Does it replace a mammogram?
Again, Thermograms are an adjunct procedure to a mammogram and should not be considered a replacement. Women should be knowledgeable of the tools available to them to monitor their breast health and Thermography can be used safely as often as necessary. Thermograms look at the physiology, or normal functioning, of the breast, while mammograms look at the anatomy of the breast. Basically, each looks at the breast in a completely different way and complements the other. Thermograms, self-examination and age-appropriate mammograms should be included in a woman’s normal routine for prevention.
What age should women consider getting a thermogram?
Women of any age can have a thermogram and they are recommended for women beginning at age 20. As mammograms are often recommended only for women over 35 (some even 40), thermograms offer a way for younger women to monitor their breast health. There are no risks associated with thermograms and they are especially helpful when there is dense tissue, so thermograms are a wise choice for women too young for mammograms. Women having mammograms should also include an annual thermogram to their prevention program.
What are the benefits of thermography?
Thermography offers women of all ages the ability to investigate their risk for developing breast cancer. It offers the opportunity of earlier detection than has been possible through breast self-examination or mammography alone. Signs of pre-cancerous tissue, which are too small to be found with mammography, may be identified with thermography. Thermography also offers a way of looking at the health of the breast that is different from the anatomical view that mammography provides.
Is thermography safe?
Thermography is completely safe. Thermographic imaging uses no radiation and there is no direct contact (no compression) of the breast. There are no side effects from thermography, it is essentially no different than having your picture taken with a digital camera.
Thermographic equipment is FDA registered, and the International Academy of Clinical Thermology sites over 800 peer-reviewed breast thermography studies in the index-medicus, which have been studied over the last 30 years. The technology has improved considerably over the years, and it remains a safe and painless procedure in preventative health.
Who should have it done?
Woman of all ages should have a base-line thermogram done beginning around age 20. Thermograms are recommended as an annual procedure for women over 30, much like your annual visit to the gynecologist. The physician who interprets the images can then compare them year over year for physiological changes.
What is the doctor looking for when he interprets the scans?
The doctor is analyzing the breasts for 20 different vascular and thermal factors. The simplest of which is comparing one breast to the other looking for blood vessel and heat asymmetries. Once detected and analyzed, each breast is graded and classified into one of five TH (Thermobiological) levels.
Women of all ages can and should use the tools available to them in their preventative health routine. A simple, yet crucial, recommendation is to be informed. Educate yourself regarding your health. Knowledge is power. Understand how and which environmental exposures and food choices impact your risk factors. Learn how to make better choices daily. Illness happens over time and we have power to improve our health – power that comes only from knowledge.