Thermography can find signs of physiological changes approximately 8-10 years before a mass can be detected by mammography. Thermography detects areas of inflammation in the breast which may precede cancer, so it is a proactive approach to breast health.
What Is Breast Thermography?
Breast thermography is a test that can assist in monitoring breast health and early changes associated with breast cancer, using thermal imaging. It is safe, contact free and painless. Based on the scientific premise that changes in the health of the breast cause increased blood supply to the growth areas, breast thermography measures the heat generated by the circulation of blood in the breast during this process.
Breast thermography is an ideal method for women to take proactive approach to their breast health. By capturing the vascular pattern that is unique to each woman and remarkably constant over a lifetime, it can provide a marker for breast health and an opportunity to look at diet, lifestyle, environment and other factors to help improve breast health. By identifying changes it allows affected women to monitor changes more closely and work with their health care professional to set proactive strategies in place.
How does thermography relate to mammograms?
They are different types of tests and are complementary to each other in gaining a full picture. Mammograms and ultrasounds are anatomical tests, that is they rely on finding physical lumps. Breast thermography is a physiological test that can identify abnormal blood vessel circulation within the breast. These different tests do not provide a replacement for each other but each provide different information useful for breast health.
It is worth noting that physiological changes are known to precede anatomical changes, so can be used to detect changes early.
Thermography can find signs of physiological changes approximately 8-10 years before a mass can be detected by mammography or a physical exam. This makes thermography a powerfully preventative tool. It does not diagnose cancer but finds areas of high inflammation that can lead to cancer, or can be a sign of already formed cancers, years before a mammogram can detect it.
This advantage of time provides greater power and opportunity to put in place preventative strategies to reverse these symptoms.
Taking another picture within a few months later can confirm that the strategies are reducing the inflammation and avoiding deterioration. For this reason, thermography is strongly endorsed by Dr. Christine Horner, who has both personal and professional experience with breast cancer. Board certified as a general and plastic surgeon and with years of experience treating and preventing breast cancer, she believes in early detection and lifestyle strategies to prevent the development of breast cancer.
Dr. Horner also emphasises the advantage of thermography for younger women as "Mammograms don't usually work on women 40 and under because their breast tissue is too dense. Plus, the other really scary thing about it is that when our breast tissue is younger, it's more sensitive to radiation. If you're getting mammograms when you're younger, it's far more damaging. We know that radiation is a contributor to the cause of breast cancer."
Thermography is radiation free and works on all breast types, including young and dense. Ideally a thermogram as early as age 20 provides a good baseline to measure changes from.
Thermography will be available in Wellington this November at a satellite clinic in Miramar. Appointments are:
- 30 minutes
- Assessed by a trained doctor
- Suitable for women of all ages
- 100% safe
- FDA approved
After 10 minutes relaxing, the exam begins. After disrobing from the waist up, you will be asked to sit with arms raised while six images are taken. After sitting for another 10 minutes in a temperature controlled room, the images are repeated. A doctor will asses the images and a report will then be sent with the test results and recommendations. Follow up investigations and/or a breast health programme can then be organised.
A traveling clinic is available around New Zealand throughout the year. For more information and bookings refer to their website or pick up one of their brochures at Be Well.