Thermography vs. Mammograms
The best researched use of thermal imaging to date has been in breast cancer detection. For three decades, over 250,000 women have been studied, some of them for up to 12 years.
A critical difference between thermography versus mammography is the ability to detect problems early enough to use preventive measures, rather than detecting disease at a stage where treatment is imminently required.
- Thermography for breast abnormalities has an average sensitivity and specificity of 90 percent. The thermal map of a woman’s breast is as individual as her fingerprint. Confirmed results of multi-year studies show that:
- A suspicious finding via thermography is the single most important indicator of high risk for breast cancer – it is eight times more indicative than a first order family history of the disease.
- A consistently abnormal thermogram translates to a 22 times higher risk of developing breast cancer.
- An over 60 percent increased survival rate is attained when thermography is used with other breast health monitoring methods (self-exam, physician visits, and mammography).
An astounding 95 percent of early stage breast cancers are diagnosed when thermography is used in a multi-modal approach to detection and treatment. Thermography can also detect inflammatory breast cancer, a type of cancer that does not develop as lumps or masses in your breast. IBC is a rare but aggressive form of the disease that accounts for one to five percent of all breast cancers in the U.S.
Inflammatory breast cancer cells block lymph vessels in the skin of your breast. This type of cancer grows rapidly and often spreads to other organs in your body. In addition to lumps and breast cancer, thermal imaging can detect other breast abnormalities like fibrocystic breast disease and mastitis.
In order to make optimal use of thermal imaging, a woman initially receives two scans, about three to four months apart. The reason for this is because active cancerous masses typically double in size and heat at 100 day intervals. If no abnormalities are suspected with the first two scans, thereafter, an annual scan is considered sufficient to reveal ongoing changes in heat patterns, alerting to possible areas of concern.
Thermograms can be especially useful for younger women, since 23 percent of all breast cancers occur in women under the age of 49.5. Breast cancer in younger women is more aggressive and has lower survival rates, so an annual thermogram – starting with a baseline scan at around age 20 – coupled with regular self-exams and breast health checkups is a very smart way to go.
Thermograms are ideal for all women and particularly those who:
- cannot tolerate radiation
- Are under age 40
- Have dense, fibrocystic or large breasts
- Have had implants or reduction surgery
- Are on hormone replacement therapy
- Are pre-menopausal, pregnant or nursing