Breast Thermography

Please note we are no longer offering breast thermography services but can provide a referral if you contact us. This information is being left on our web site becasue we continue to believe thermography is a valuable tool in assessing breast health and monitoring results of treatment for a variety of breast health problems. As an ongoing free service to women with questions about breast thermography, I would be happy to address your questions via email. For additional information please follow this link.


Thermographic Breast Health Assessment

We all know someone who has or has had breast cancer. In fact you probably know several women with breast cancer. Breast cancer is on the rise. In the 1970's approximately 1 in 11 women developed breast cancer, today it is 1 in 8 and approaching 1 in 7. Our clinic has seen several women in their early 30's with breast cancer. Being diagnosed with breast cancer in your early 30's indicates the cancer was likely present when you were in your 20's. I feel strongly we can be proactive in reducing the incidence of breast cancer and increase your chances of living your life free of breast cancer. There are no guarantees that even if you do take all the correct steps in decreasing your risk you won't develop cancer, but natural medicine inclusive of Chinese herbal medicine, hormone balancing, lifestyle and nutritional considerations will offer you the opportunity to reduce your risk rather then simply wait and hope you won't develop breast cancer. If you are healthy, and specifically if your breast tissue is healthy, simple lifestyle changes and proper nutrition will go a long way to reducing your risk. Did you know many, if not most people are deficient in vitamin D and this deficiency increases your chance of developing breast cancer? The correct dose and having your blood level checked for 25(OH)D is essential. If your breast tissue is unhealthy (do you experience significant breast tenderness, have fibrocystic breasts, fibroadenoma or other benign pathology; does your breast thermogram indicate an unhealthy state, then your breasts are not healthy) then appropriate treatment using Chinese herbal medicine, enzymes, hormone balancing and other methods will go a long way to resolving this condition and reducing your breast cancer risk. I encourage you to be Proactive rather than Reactive.


WHAT IS BREAST THERMOGRAPHY?

Breast thermography has been around for decades and due to improving technology, accuracy and reproducibility has improved and is essentially fully developed with consistently reliable results. Studies show malignant pathology (cancer) produces increasing heat due to altered metabolic activity and new blood vessel growth. Blood vessel growth is necessary for a cancer to survive and thrive. Increase metabolic activity and vascularization produces heat which can be visualized by sensitive infrared imaging equipment.

The primary difference between imaging methods such as mammography, MRI, Ultrasound (all structural imaging methods) and thermography is that thermography is a physiologic assessment. Structural imaging is looking for a mass or other finding suggestive of cancer, thermography is looking for the body’s response to a cancer. It has been suggested that thermography in some cases can visualize evidence of a cancer years before the cancer is large enough to be seen anatomically.


Thermography in Risk Assessment

In addition to looking for evidence of breast cancer, thermography is used to evaluate risk and to assess the benefits of proactive breast health improvement. Studies show a persistently abnormal breast thermogram is a strong indication of a substantially greater lifetime risk of developing a breast cancer. This has been reported to be up to 22 times greater than women with a normal thermogram. Studies also show that an abnormal infrared image is the single most important marker of high risk for developing breast cancer, 10 times more significant than a family history of the disease. So why is this important? If you know you are at a greater risk of developing breast cancer, you can take steps to address your breast health and reduce your risk. I treat breast problems on a regular basics and have found the majority of women that take steps to improve their breast health will be successful. This may mean a resolution of breast tenderness, Fibrocystic Breast Changes, Cysts, Swelling, abnormal thermogram, etc.

Inflammatory Breast CancerIt is worth noting that breast density, reductions, implants (generally), do not interfere with effective breast thermography. Additionally there is no physical contact, therefore no discomfort, and no radiation exposure. For additional information on the procedure, see the links below.











Pre & Post CancerThese images are of the same woman, on the left is her with breast cancer and the images on the right were taken following treatment.

Even if the cancer was not present, this thermogram is highly abnormal and proactive breast care should be started. Properly treated, the majority of women will show significant improvement or complete resolution of this abnormality.


MAMMOGRAPHY

Mammography is the standard of care for detecting breast cancer, but it has serious limitations. In younger women (under 50) mammography can miss a substantial percent of cancers. Even in women over 50, cancers are missed. The overall false negative rate (saying there is no cancer when cancer is actually present) has been reported to be as high as 23 percent. What this means is, when you receive a mammogram and clinical breast exam and are told you are fine, come back next year, all is not necessarily fine. Consider the following quotes.

"Regular mammography of younger women increases their cancer risks. Analysis of controlled trials over the last decade has shown consistent increases in breast cancer mortality within a few years of commencing screening. This confirms evidence of the high sensitivity of the premenopausal breast, and on cumulative carcinogenic effects of radiation." The Politics of Cancer by Samuel S Epstein MD

“You can only stick your head in the sand for so long, I think mammograms will be a forgotten technology before long.” Cornelia Baines, a public health researcher at the University of Toronto.

Reported in JNCI (Journal of the National Cancer Institute), researchers looked retrospectively at almost 4,000 women in the US between the ages of 40 and 69. The study found that women who underwent screening mammography died at the same rate as women who declined a mammogram.

An honest assessment of the value of mammography must include other opinions such as.

"The largest study ever done to evaluate the impact of routine mammography on survival has concluded that routine mammograms do significantly reduce deaths from breast cancer." Dr Isadore Rosenfeld's Breakthrough Health By Isadore Rosenfeld MD

Certainly there are other studies showing mammography to be of benefit. Although I am not a fan of mammography, until a better technology, that is quick and cost effective comes along, mammography will remain a useful tool. To be clear, I am not attempting to equate thermography and mammography or any other form of structural imaging. The technologies and what they are looking for are different. Its an apples and oranges comparison. Although an increasing number of women and their health care providers are using thermography as their primary screening method, this is not my intent. I encourage you to use breast thermography as another tool to aid in helping you maintain your breast health; not to use thermography as the sum total of your assessment. Thermography is simply another way of evaluating breast health. This allows you to be proactive in maintaining breast health. Proactive care rather than crisis management (cancer treatment) is preferable and I encourage you to take the necessary steps to reduce cancer risk and to address signs of unhealthy changes occurring in your breasts.


Important – Please Read

Breast thermography should be considered adjunctive to other forms of imaging such as MRI, Mammography, Ultrasound. Although increasing numbers of women, physicians and other health care providers are advocating thermography as the primary screening method, please keep in mind the intended use of thermography is complementary to other forms of imaging. Thermography is not diagnostic of cancer. Thermography maps heat patterns which may indicate cancer, infection, inflammation, surface lesions and more. Abnormal thermographic findings require further investigation and as such, you should follow up your thermogram with your health care provider. No form of imaging provides 100 percent accuracy. Not Mammography, not MRI’s, not Thermography or any other method. The best results come from combining various assessment techniques.

Please see the following sections for additional information:

Research

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