Thermography Measures Physiology For Early Detection Of Breast Cancer

by Linda Ditzler, RN, BSN, HN, BSWED

In “The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to Breast Cancer” (2003), Sat Dharam Kaur writes, “Although thermography was considered inaccurate 20 years ago and lost favor due to inconsistent reporting methods, efficiency has improved and analysis of thermograms has been standardized.

Unlike a mammogram that detects changes in anatomy, thermography measures physiology. Often physiological changes precede anatomical changes… Canadian studies done at the Ville Marie Breast Center in Montreal found that thermograms were positive for 83% of breast cancers, compared to 61% for clinical breast exam alone and 84% for mammography.  The 84% sensitivity of mammography was increased to 95% when infrared thermographic imaging was added…Breast cancer patients with abnormal thermograms tend to have faster-growing tumors that are more likely to metastasize.”
“Mammography can detect approximately 85% of all breast cancers.   Mammograms may prolong lives with earlier detection of breast cancer, resulting in less invasive treatments.  However, they are not ideal diagnostic tools for several reasons.”

“If a woman has dense breasts, a lump may not be visible through the tissue.  Mammograms will miss up to 25% of tumors in women 40-49 years old.  Mammograms are less accurate in picking up lesions in smaller breasts.  Often mammograms provide women and their doctors with a false sense of security if nothing is found—overall, mammograms will miss cancers 9-20%  of the time, especially in…women with dense breasts.  Approximately 5% of mammograms are read as positive for cancer.  Of these, 97.5% will be ‘false’ positives….of every 100 mammograms read as positive or suspicious of cancer, only two or three will actually turn out to be cancer.…One study found that women who had their mammograms during the last two weeks of their menstrual cycle were twice as likely to have false negative results.  This means that the x-ray was interpreted to be fine, but cancer was actually present—tumors were missed.

Mammograms are not conclusive; if the lump is there and persists but the mammogram looks fine, it is imperative to have another test.”
Mammograms do expose us to cumulative doses of ionizing radiation, which can increase risk of breast cancer. This is an important factor which should be included when evaluating clinical justification for the use of screening mammography. This is particularly applicable to women with dense breast tissue (radiologically dense) or with a family history of breast cancer.  Using diagnostic tools that can increase risk doesn’t make sense without justifiable medical necessity.

To learn more, please contact Medical Thermography of Metro St. Louis at 314-566-0350 or 618-806-5220.  You can also visit www.medicalthermography-stl.com.