Wishing You Could Skip That Mammogram? Take a Look at Thermography
One thing that gets my goat is the attribution of mammography as preventative medicine, as if getting a yearly mammogram could prevent breast cancer. A mammogram is a tool of prevention not detection.
Conventional oncology may make the argument that early detection could result in an efficient resolution of early stage breast cancer, but the prevention label is quite absurd.
I also take the early detection claim with a rather large grain of salt. I can’t seem to rectify the fact that a procedure to detect breast cancer introduces carcinogenic ionizing radiation into the very same tissue. There is a certain level of insanity to the mainstream application of a procedure to detect cancer that increases cancer risk. Perhaps this is why there has been a degree of backpedaling by the medical establishment in recent years, downgrading its recommendation from a yearly mammogram to every two years for woman beyond age 50.
It would be one thing if a mammogram were the only option, but it isn’t. Medical thermography, also known as digital infrared thermal imaging (DITI), or infrared breast thermography (IBT), provides a noninvasive and radiation-free alternative to conventional mammography for early detection. Any abnormal results can then be followed up with ultrasound at the discretion of the patient and physician.
Curious to learn more about thermography? Below is a brief description written by Jenny Steger, the thermographer at our clinic:
Medical DITI is a noninvasive screening technique that allows the examiner to visualize and quantify changes in skin surface temperature. An infrared scanning device is used to convert infrared radiation emitted from the skin surface into electrical impulses that are visualized in color on a monitor.
This visual image graphically maps the body temperature and is referred to as a thermogram. The spectrum of colors indicate an increase or decrease in the amount of infrared radiation being emitted from the body surface. Since there is a high degree of thermal symmetry in the normal body, subtle abnormal temperature asymmetry can be easily identified.
Medical DITI’s major clinical value is in its high sensitivity to pathology in the vascular, muscular, neural, and skeletal systems and as such can contribute to the pathogenesis and diagnosis made by the clinician.
Breast thermography is a 30-minute noninvasive test of physiology. It is a valuable procedure for alerting your doctor to changes that can indicate early stage breast disease.
DITI’s role in breast health is to help in early detection and monitoring of abnormal physiology and the establishment of risk factors for the development or existence of pathology, whether benign or malignant. When used as an adjunct with other procedures, the best possible evaluation of breast health is made.
It takes years for a tumor to grow, thus the earliest possible indication of abnormality is needed to allow for the earliest possible treatment and intervention. Thermography’s role in monitoring breast health is to help in early detection and monitoring of abnormal physiology.
Thermography can detect the subtle physiologic changes that accompany breast pathology, whether it is cancer, fibrocystic disease, an infection, or a vascular disease. Your doctor can then plan accordingly and lay out a careful program to further diagnose and/or monitor you during and after any treatment.
If you have questions about whether medical thermography is right for you, feel free to contact clinical thermographer Jenny Steger.