Thermography painlessly detects physiologic changes in breast tissue that have been shown to correlate with cancerous and pre-cancerous states. Thermal imaging has the ability to detect cellular changes at a very early stage. Having the benefit of finding inflammation in the body at an early stage opens the conversation about prevention and lifestyle changes that can improve the breasts and reduce your risk of cancer. Thermal imaging is an especially useful adjunct to mammography in women with denser breast tissue where mammograms can be less reliable.
While it does not take the place of a mammogram for the detection of cancer, it has the potential to detect breast inflammation at a very early stage. Thermography produces an infrared image that shows the patterns of heat and blood flow on or near the surface of the body. When there is inflammation present, your body’s response is to increase the temperature surrounding the site of inflammation in an attempt to eliminate it. This change in temperature is what can be detected on a thermogram. Thermography has been determined to have a sensitivity of 90% when used as part of a comprehensive multifaceted approach.
What is the difference between a thermogram and a mammogram?
Thermography detects physiologic changes and mammography detects anatomic changes. The benefit of thermography is the lack of exposure to radiation and the possibility of earlier detection of breast disease or inflammation.
What to expect during a thermal scan?
Prior to the scan you will be provided with health history information to complete and instructions for preparation the day of your scan.
When you arrive you will be placed in the thermography room to allow your skin to acclimate to the room temperature. Once you have had time to acclimate the thermographer will demonstrate the positioning necessary for your scan. At this time she will also review your medical history and any current symptoms you may be experiencing with you. Having a thermal scan is like having your picture taken. There is no direct contact between you and the camera. There is no radiation, no injection, nothing to drink.
An exam typically takes between 15–45 minutes to perform depending on the regions of interest being scanned. Once the Certified Clinical Thermographer completes your scan, it will be submitted with your health history to a board-certified thermologist (medical doctor) who will interpret and report on your scan. You will receive a copy of your written report and the images that were reported on in the mail within 10-14 business days. For first time breast scans it is highly recommended that you have a follow up scan in 90 days to establish your personal baseline for annual comparison going forward.
“Thermography is a breast health screening modality that actually helps prevent breast cancer not just diagnose it early. I highly recommend this approach.”
-Christianne Northrup, M.D., Author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom
Who should consider thermography?
- Patients with a high risk due to family history
- Patients with breast implants
- Patients with dense breasts
- Patients with inconclusive anatomic studies
- Patients who cannot have breast compression studies
- Patients wishing to avoid radiation/compression
What can thermography be used for besides assessing breast health?
- Thyroid Issues
- Dental/Facial Issues
- Vascular Disease
- Neuromuscular Conditions
- Chronic Pain
- Peripheral Neuropathies