Breast thermography is a state-of-the-art screening procedure that captures images of the breast to aid in the early detection of breast irregularities. According to the American Journal of Surgery, it “is a valuable adjunct to mammography and ultrasound, especially in women with dense breast parenchyma.”
It is based on the principle of temperature variation, the slight increase in heat that is almost always generated when chemical and blood vessel activity occurs in pre-cancerous tissue and the areas surrounding a developing breast cancer. Images are captured with ultra-sensitive infra-red cameras and analyzed with sophisticated computers that seek to detect the minute increases in surface temperature and vascular changes that may be occurring within the breast. It is comfortable and safe, using neither radiation nor compression.
Breast thermographic technology has been researched for over 30 years. It has, however, been gaining national prominence and more widespread use only recently, 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 an alternative to mammography. Rather, it should be regarded as an adjunct to mammography, and should be included in every woman’s regular breast health regimen. Women of all ages should employ a combination of techniques, including breast self-examination, physical examinations of the breast by a physician, thermography, mammography, and sometimes ultrasound or MRI examinations, where indicated. Studies have shown that the earliest detection generally occurs when several test techniques are used in combination. The inclusion of thermography can often point out the need for more intensive examination to make a complete diagnosis.
The Index Medicus, a comprehensive index of medical scientific journal articles, references more than 800 peer-reviewed breast thermography studies, in which over 250,000 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. Among other conclusions, these studies found that when thermography has been added to a woman’s regular breast health checkups, a 61% increased survival rate was realized, and when used as part of a multi-modal approach (clinical examination, mammography and thermography) 95% of early stage cancers will be detected. Since 23% of all breast cancers occur in women under the age of 49, regular breast health checkups should be undertaken by women of all ages, even those in their 20’s. It is well known that early detection is the best defense against breast cancer and that, if treated in the earliest stages, a 95% cure rate is achieved.
Breast thermography is available at Integrated Medicine of Mount Kisco, P.C located at 495 E. Main Street, Mount Kisco. 914-242-8844. Website: www.intedny.com.
- American Cancer Society – Breast Cancer Guidelines and Statistics, 1999
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- International Academy of Clinical Thermography – Internet Reference Source for Patients at www.breastthermography.com