Breast Thermography: A Tool for Health

The incidence of breast cancer has increased substantially over the past 20 years. While advances in medicine have increased a women’s chance for survival, little has been done to reduce–or prevent–the cancer from occurring. 

Thermography uses a digital infrared thermal imaging to detect and record the infrared heat radiating from the surface of the body.  Clusters of abnormal cells that can develop into a cancer often have an increased blood supply that leads to an elevation in the temperature of the skin over the area.  Breast thermography has the ability to warn women years before any other procedure that inflammation is present that could later become cancer. This is the best prevention: Find inflammation that can be addressed at the earliest stages. Even though thermography was approved by the FDA as an adjunctive screening procedure for breast disease in 1982, few women are aware of this useful technology.

More than 800 peer-reviewed studies exist, involving more than 250,000 study participants describing its usefulness. The number of women in the studies range from 37,000 to 118,000, and some women were followed for up to 12 years. The studies revealed that breast thermography has an average sensitivity and specificity of 90% for detecting early changes in the breast that can possibly lead to cancer. 

Studies have shown that:
• An abnormal infrared image is an important marker of high risk for problems in the tissues. The marker is said (by some) to be 8 times more significant as a marker for disease than a family history of the cancer.
• A person with a persistently abnormal thermogram has a 10 times greater risk of developing breast cancer in the future.
• A positive infrared scan does not mean you have cancer. The increased heat  may be suggestive of presence of many different breast abnormalities such as mastitis, benign tumors, fibrocystic breast disease, and cancer.
• In a study from 1998, 100 new cases of ductal carcinoma in situ were diagnosed pre-operatively using a clinical breast exam, mammography, and infrared imaging.  The number of tumors diagnosed with mammography alone was 85%. The number of tumors diagnosed when a breast exam and a breast thermography were added increased to 95%.

Breast thermography can detect abnormalities six to seven years before the changes can be detected on a mammogram.

COMMENT: Every woman between the age of 20 and 40 needs to have a thermogram and so, if needed, they can start a breast health program years before breast cancer has a chance to set in. Every woman between the age of 40 and 65 needs to have a thermogram in conjunction with their mammogram.

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