Early Detection Tool for Early Prevention of Breast Cancer*
*see referenced articles
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For Women of All Ages
Photo Simulation of a Thermogram
What is Breast Thermography?
Breast Thermography is an imaging of the temperatures on the surface of the breast. The pattern reflects metabolic activity inside the breasts as well as the neighboring lymph nodes. Certain breast problems tend to produce recognizable thermal patterns while benign cysts/lumps tend to show no thermal activity. This helps differentiate a problem from a non-problem.
The Power of Prevention
Empower yourself with knowledge. Breast Thermography, or thermogram, can help anticipate oncoming cancer risk, years ahead of time. Thermography is a risk assessment tool for cancer. A woman can choose to just monitor thermographic stability or change, or she can choose to take steps to reduce her risk. Reduced risk can be seen as a healthier looking thermogram, or thermographic breast image.
Breast Thermography does not replace Mammography These technologies are different and yield different information. A mammogram can show a structure that is already present (e.g. a tumor or calcification) while thermography measures physiologic effects and changes. These effects/changes have been show to have a statistical correlation rather than a direct correlation to the development of breast cancer. Consult your physician regarding recommendations for mammography.
After the thermographic image has been analyzed, you will be given a copy for your records, as well as the option to discuss the results in detail with Dr. Rind or another physician knowledgeable in thermography. If the scan suggests a moderate to high risk, you may decide to follow up with a consultation to determine the next step.
Thermographic risk is assessed on scale of 1 to 5. A risk level of 1 is associated with a 99% chance of not having breast cancer. A risk level of 5, however, is associated with a 90% chance that cancer is already present (see references).We can take on health habits that are beneficial or harmful. As our breast health changes, so does our risk, as well as the thermographic image which reflects that risk. The next step may involve taking steps towards improving breast health, as well as the possibility of pursuing other imaging modalities including: mammography, ultrasound, MRI or PET scan. Even though the thermographic image is used for risk assessment, an image suggestive of high risk could be an indicator of a problem coming on and closer monitoring might be warranted.
Is there a choice of scans?
At NIHA, we offer two type of scans- a full breast scan, normally recommended as the first imaging, and a basic scan, which is normally used for follow up.
The full breast scan consists of 9 thermal images followed by a cold challenge. Another 9 images are then taken. Both types of imaging allow a baseline image for monitoring future changes. In a cold challenge test, the hands are placed in cold water for a minute. There is a reflex cooling of the body's skin in response to the cooling of the hands. Cancer and inflammation tend to ignore the brain's orders to cool thus staying warm while the surrounding areas cool. A failed cold challenge is not proof of malignancy but raises our level of suspicion.
The basic scan is an option that affords a glimpse at one's breast health. Three thermographic images (from different angles) are taken. This is not used for a complete analysis but allows us to get a reasonable idea of breast health. It will appear healthy, unhealthy or equivocal. After reviewing the assessment, you decide how to proceed. Most women show a reasonably healthy image. Many will then monitor for changes with follow up imaging every 1- 2 years. After obtaining a basic scan, about 15% of women choose to pursue a full (more detailed) scan which more accurately reflects the published research statistics.
Download Dr. Rind's webinar on Thermography, Breast Cancer and Early Detection from the NIHA Library
-Parisky, Y R, et al. Efficacy of Computerized Infrared Imaging Analysis to Evaluate Mammographically Suspicious Lesions. American Journal of Roentgenology, January 2003, 263-69. The article states that Th-1 and Th-2 (i.e., thermographic risk levels 1 and 2) scores can be reassured with a 99% level of confidence that they do not have breast cancer.
-The Breast Journal, Volume 4, 1998, 245-51, Keyserlingk et al documented 85% sensitivity in diagnosing breast cancer using clinical examination and mammography together. This increased to 98% when breast thermography was added.
-Gautherie, M, and Gros, C M. Breast Thermography and Cancer Risk Prediction. Cancer, 1980, volume 56, 45-51: The article reports that fiftyeight thousand patients with breast complaints were examined between 1965 and 1977.
1,245 patients with abnormal Th-3 mammotherms had normal breasts by mammography, ultrasound, physical exam, and biopsy. 38% percent of women with normal breasts and 44% of those with mastopathy (i.e., breast problem) developed biopsy proven breast cancer within five years. In 90% of patients with a Th-4 or Th-5 (thermographic risk level of 4 or 5), a diagnosis of cancer was made on their first visit.
Copyright 2008 Bruce Rind MD