Infrared Breast Thermography for Breast Cancer Screening

What is Infrared Breast Thermography? 

The breast thermography test is non-invasive and painless. It’s non-invasive, non-radiation, and only takes 15 to 30 minutes. This is an excellent way to alert your doctor to early signs of physiological changes that show areas of concern that may indicate breast cancer.

Digital Infrared Breast Thermography’s role in breast health involves early detection and monitoring abnormal physiology, and the identification of risk factors for developing or existing pathology. The best evaluation of breast health can be made when it is used in conjunction with other procedures.

Breast Thermography was approved by FDA in 1982 as an adjunctive diagnostic screening tool to mammography and ultrasound The extensive research over the past six decades has clearly demonstrated its benefits

How Does Breast Thermography Work?

Infrared Breast Thermography test is very simple. The medical digital infrared camera takes a series  of pictures of the breasts of a woman and then analyzes by a specialist that creates your report. The study is given a severity score which will guide further treatment. If the results are not favorable, a recommendation is made for follow-up. Further testing such as a mammogram and MRI may be required if an abnormality is discovered.

The role of thermography in breast cancer detection and management is to detect and monitor abnormal physiology early and establish risk factors for developing or existing cancer. The best evaluation of breast health can be made when it is combined with other procedures.

This test can increase the chances of detecting active, fast-growing tumors during intervals between mammographic screenings.

The thermogram breast images and reports of all patients, are kept in record. They serve as a baseline for future routine evaluations.

Who is Breast Thermography Right For?

A breast thermogram should be taken by all women starting at age 20. Breast thermograms are beneficial for women with dense breast tissue, breast cancer history, and fibrocystic breast conditions. Thermography detects subtle changes in breast pathology that can lead to cancerous or benign growths, as well as fibrocystic and invasive breast diseases. It is especially useful for younger patients as it can detect hormonal changes and changes in the breast tissue.

This patient population is not as well served by mammography. Women who are pregnant or have a history of breast cancer should consider having their scans done by a thermography:

  • Obesity & Belly Fat
  • Use of Hormone Replacement Therapy
  • History of Birth Control Use
  • Have Hormone Imbalance
  • Fibrocystic or Dense Breast Tissue
  • Are pregnant or nursing and in the need of testing
  • Have reconstructed breasts
  • Are under the age of 50
  • Family History of Hormone Related Cancers
  • Personal History of Hormone Related Cancer
  • Eating Commercially or Conventionally Grown Foods
  • Exposure To Xenoestrogens in Environmental Chemicals/Products
  • Personal or Family History of Hormone Related Cancer
  • Eating Commercially or Conventionally Grown Foods
  • Exposure To Xenoestrogens in Environmental Chemicals/Products
  • Have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation
  • Have received radiation treatment to the chest area between ages 10-30

Why Infrared Breast Thermography?

The new ultra-sensitive and high resolution digital infrared camera is now more easily available, has allowed this technology to dramatically evolve over the past two decades.

Thermography is a physiologic test that shows heat patterns in the breast that can be strongly indicative of abnormalities in the breast. Once abnormal heat patterns have been detected, follow-up procedures such as mammography are required to diagnose or rule out cancer.

Canadian researchers discovered that infrared imaging can detect temperature variations due to blood flow, and show abnormal patterns related with the progression of breast cancer. These thermograms or images of the breast showed positive results for 83% of breast carcinomas, compared to 61% in clinical breast examination and 84% in mammography.

Thermography can be performed years before traditional mammography to monitor a select patient population at high risk. Once the lesion has grown sufficiently large and dense to be visible on mammographic film, it can be detected more accurately and can then be used to increase the patient’s treatment options.

This is where thermography can be of greatest practical use to the public as well as to the medical community. It can be used in conjunction with mammography, but not as a substitute. Thermography can help identify patients at highest risk and increase the effectiveness of mammographic imaging procedures.

Breast tumors and cancer is best dealt with when detected early. We need to make progress in areas such as early detection, risk assessment, and sound clinical decision-making.

Thermography has been shown to be non-radiation-based, low-cost and non-contact. It is also a useful and safe way to detect breast pathology early and can be used as a case management tool for ongoing monitoring and treatment.

In Summary

Breast thermography offers women information that no other procedure can provide. However, it is not a replacement for or alternative to mammography or any other form of breast imaging. Breast thermography and mammography are complementary procedures, one test does not replace the other.