In keeping with Breast Health Awareness Month, we’d like to focus today on the benefits of thermography as an option for breast screening. Thermography (also known as digital infrared imaging) measures the emission of infrared heat from your body and translates this information into anatomical images. It uses no mechanical pressure or ionizing radiation and can detect signs of breast cancer years earlier than either mammography or a physical exam. This is possible because thermography can image the early stages of angiogenesis (the formation of a direct supply of blood to cancer cells, which is a necessary step before they can grow into tumors of size).
In addition, breast differences such as those produced by women taking hormone replacement or those who are nursing or have fibrocystic, large, dense, or enhanced breasts do not cause problems when reading thermographic scans. Thermography is also painless – a mammogram machine puts the pressure equivalent of 50 lbs. of weight on your breast!
The bottom line is thermographic imaging has the ability to spot anomalies years before mammography. 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 because it affords us the opportunity to view changes before the actual formation of the tumor and allow you to implement lifestyle changes that can improve the health of your breast proactively instead of waiting for a cancer diagnosis later.
If you’d like to assess your risk for breast cancer, go to the National Cancer Institute’s Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool at http://www.cancer.gov/bcrisktool/.