Published on October 2nd, 2016 | by Janique Cook0
Detect Breast Cancer in the Earliest Stages with Thermography
Digital infrared thermal imaging (DITI, or thermography) is a non-invasive test of physiology or function. This life-saving procedure can alert us and our doctor to changes in our body that may indicate early stage breast disease or other disease processes that may be developing. DITI offers the opportunity of earlier detection of breast disease than has been thought possible through breast self-examination, doctor examination or mammography alone—all without pain, radiation or compression.
X-ray, CAT scan, ultrasound and MRI are all tests of anatomy that measure the structures of the body, but DITI is unique in its capability to show the physiological changes and metabolic processes occurring in the body. This unique ability is what affords DITI such early detection—being able to detect disease processes before they have progressed enough to be seen by other types of screenings. This allows for earlier intervention and often reversal of abnormalities before they grow into a more serious problem.
In dense or fibrocystic breasts, the density refers to higher levels of fibrous and glandular tissue in the breast relative to fatty tissue. Forty-nine percent of women have high breast tissue density and mammography’s sensitivity for dense breasts can be as low as 27 percent. This means nearly 75 percent of dense-breasted women are at risk for a cancer being missed if they rely solely on mammography.
Even with digital mammography, the sensitivity is still less than 60 percent. The reason mammography frequently fails to pick up cancer in dense breast tissue is because the X-ray image shows the breast tissue as areas of white and dark, with white areas indicating denser tissue, including cancerous lesions, and darker areas less dense and fattier tissues, through which the X-rays pass more readily. When a woman’s breast is very dense, lesions are less likely to be identified among the natural fibrous tissue because both show as white on the X-ray.
The ability of breast DITI to detect a precancerous state, or signs of cancer at an extremely early stage, lies in its unique capability to monitor temperature variations and blood vessel alterations produced by the earliest changes in breast tissue physiology.
With the new, ultra-sensitive, high resolution digital infrared cameras available today, the technology that has been developing over the past 20 years is creating renewed interest in thermography. Canadian researchers recently found that infrared imaging of breast cancers could detect minute temperature variations related to blood flow and demonstrate abnormal patterns associated with the progression of tumors. These thermographic images showed positive for 83 percent of breast cancers compared to 61 percent for clinical breast examination alone and 84 percent for mammography. Mammograms have an overall average sensitivity of 80 percent for women over 50, whereas, thermography has an overall average sensitivity of 90 percent in all age groups. DITI does not replace mammography, just mammography does not replace thermography; they are complementary tools. Biopsy of tissue is the only way to receive an actual cancer diagnosis regardless of breast screening type.
DITI, with its non-radiation, non-contact and low-cost basis, has been clearly demonstrated to be a valuable and safe early risk marker of breast pathology and an excellent case management tool for the ongoing monitoring and treatment of breast disease without the requirement of a doctor’s referral. HSA and Flex cards cover thermography, while most major medical insurance does not.
Janique Cook is co-founder and certified clinical thermographer at Mobile Thermographic Imaging. For more information, visit Atlanta-Breast-Thermography.com.