Breast Thermography – Breast Health Assessment

The earliest possible indication of abnormalities allows for the earliest possible intervention.

Breast Asymmetry shown by a Thermographic Image
Breast asymmetry suggestive of abnormality before change of lifestyle

Breast thermography detects the physiologic changes in the breast tissue that have been shown to correlate with cancerous or pre-cancerous states. It is widely acknowledged that cancers, even in their earliest stages need nutrients to maintain or accelerate their growth. In order to facilitate this process blood vessels are caused to remain open, inactive blood vessels are activated and new ones are formed, a process known as neoangiogenisis. This vascular process causes an increase in surface temperature in the affected regions which can be viewed with infrared imaging cameras. Additionally the newly formed or activated blood vessels have a distinct appearance which thermography can detect.

Breast Thermography Marlton NJ

Thermography is a physiologic test which can demonstrate the aforementioned changes. As such it cannot identify tumors. It provides the clinician with extremely useful information regarding areas of abnormality which can be examined clinically and with anatomic tests. Since thermal imaging detects changes at the cellular level, studies suggest that this test can detect activity eight to ten years BEFORE any other test. This makes it unique in that it affords us the opportunity to view changes before the actual formation of the tumor. Studies have shown that by the time a tumor has grown to sufficient size to be detectable by physical examination or mammography, it has in fact been growing for several years achieving more than twenty-five doublings of the malignant cell colony.

Breast Thermography image
Same patient after dietary changes (cessation of white sugar, caffeine and meat)

According to the 1998 Merck Manual, for every case of breast cancer diagnosed each year, five to ten women will needlessly undergo a painful breast biopsy. Statistically therefore each woman who undergoes annual screening mammograms for ten years has at least a fifty percent chance of undergoing a breast biopsy. Breast thermography has been researched for over forty years with a data base of over 1/4 million women. There are over 800 peer-reviewed thermographic studies. This research has concluded that a persistently abnormal themogram is consistent with a 22 fold increase in the risk of developing breast cancer. Because of the safety inherent in the test, thermography can be performed on an individual of any age, including those who are pregnant or breast feeding.

Thermography is unaffected by breast density, implants or scars from surgery. It allows for the avoidance of potentially harmful radiation, a known carcinogen. Radiation from routine mammograms poses significant cumulative risk of initiating and promoting breast cancer (1-3) . In fact a mammogram results in 1000 fold greater radiation exposure than a chest x-ray(2). Additionally each rad (radiation absorbed dose) of exposure increases breast cancer risk by one percent annually (4), an extremely worrisome statistic for premenopausal women whose breasts are more sensitive to radiation.

Breast thermography is non-contact test. Conversely, mammography involves placing the breast between two plates and subjecting the breast to painful compression. The recommended force to be used for the compression of breast tissue in a mammogram is 300 Newtons, the equivalent of placing a fifty pound weight on the breast. In an article written in 1928(5) physicians were warned to handle “cancerous breasts with care – for fear of accidentally disseminating cells and spreading cancer.” In 1992 (6) an opinion was offered that such compression might lead to distant and lethal spread of malignant cells by rupturing small blood vessels in or around small, as yet undetected breast cancers.

In 1995, the Lancet, a prestigious British medical journal, reported that “since mammographic screening was introduced in 1983, the incidence of ductal carcinoma in situ “DCIS”, which represents 12% of all breast cancer cases, has increased by 328% and 200% of this increase is due to the use of mammography.

Breast thermography has been determined to have an average sensitivity and specificity of 90% and when used as part of a comprehensive multi faceted approach can lead to early detection of 95% of early stage cancers. This increases the long term survival rate by as much as 60%.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

(1-6) Cancer Prevention Coalition
Dangers And Unreliability of Mammography: Breast Examination is a safe, Effective, and Practical Alternative

Samuel S. Epstein, Rosalie Bertell, and Barbara Seanman

International Journal of Health Services, 31(3):605-615, 2001