The high incidence of breast cancer among woman has left us asking why there isn’t more focus on prevention and early detection. In America, more women are diagnosed with breast cancer than any other cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2017 there will be over a million and a half new cases of cancer in the United States—252,710 of them breast cancer.
While we understand the value of yearly mammograms, annual doctor exams, and monthly self-breast exams, what many don’t realize is there is another type of screening that can detect physiological changes in the breast at its earliest stage.
The American College of Clinical Thermology addresses the role of thermography in breast health by stating: “Thermography’s role in breast cancer and other breast disorders is to help in early detection and monitoring of abnormal physiology and the establishment of risk factors for the development or existence of cancer. When used with other procedures the best possible evaluation of breast health is made.”
Thermography (digital infrared thermal imaging), is a safe and simple screening that can provide early detection of breast conditions that are unable to be detected by mammography or self-breast examinations. Thermography is radiation-free, compression-free, and ideal for monitoring breast health in a normal breast as well as in dense breasts and those with implants.
“It is not unusual for a woman with an abnormal breast thermogram to be asymptomatic and have normal mammography and ultrasound results. So what does that abnormal thermogram mean? A study published in 1980 followed 1,527 such women for 12 years. Of this group, 44 percent developed malignancies within 5 years. The study concluded that “an abnormal thermogram is the single most important marker of high risk for the future development of breast cancer.”
— Dr. Thomas Hudson, a diagnostic radiologist specializing in breast imaging and author of “Journey to Hope.”
By using a digital infrared thermal camera to record the heat patterns emitted from the body’s surface, thermography looks at the body’s physiological process. Abnormal heat patterns reflect health issues. By evaluating the function of the organs, muscles, and cells, thermography detects temperature changes associated with inflammation. Physiological changes begin years before a lump can be detected on a mammogram and can identify new blood vessels (neo-angiogenesis) that grow to support a tumor.
The thermal images are recorded as a color map and are sent to medical doctors specially trained in thermology for interpretation. Their findings are then sent to each client with specific recommendations.
Most women think that a family history of breast cancer is a definite risk factor for developing the disease. As of April 2017, according to Cancer. org, only about 5-10% of all cancers result directly from inherited gene mutations.
We, as women, can change the future by educating ourselves and using a combination of available breast screenings. By being proactive in our own health decisions we can empower other women to take the journey along with us in reducing the incidence and mortality of breast cancer.
Karen Rubenstein is a Registered Nurse and Co-Owner of Thermography Center of Memphis. Call 901.249.8642 to schedule a breast or full-body screening. Memphisthermography.com.