Thermography is a non-invasive, fifteen minute test. It does not use radiation, does not compress breast tissue, and it is better than mammography at early detection of breast function abnormalities. This screening tool can help raise suspicions of breast cancer at an early stage, when there is still chance of complete cure.
Thermography can spot suspicious tissue 10 years before it can be detected by mammography.
Chemical and blood vessel activity in the area surrounding a developing breast cancer is almost always higher than in the normal breast. When a tumor is forming, it develops its own blood supply to feed its accelerated growth and this increased blood flow can increase the surface temperatures of the breast. Pre-cancerous tissues can start this process well in advance of the cells becoming malignant. Thermography measures the skin's autonomic response to that inflammation – it's "heat signature."
Mammography has not proved to be a flawless screening tool. It has a difficult time giving a good reading in women with dense or fibrous breasts, and exposes women year after year to radiation – x-rays are a known carcinogen. Compressing breasts is uncomfortable. If cancerous tissue is present, compression can be dangerous because it can invite the cancer to spread.
One in three breast cancers detected by mammograms would never have posed a threat to the patient's life, making all the treatments that follow unnecessary, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Nordic Cochrane Center in Copenhagen, Denmark, and published in the British Medical Journal, July, 2009. In general, breast cancers come in three types: aggressive cancers that spread before they can be detected, cancers that spread slowly enough to be detected and treated early, and cancers that spread so slowly they pose no threat. Unfortunately, mammograms are best at detecting cancers in that last category and not in the first two, and there is no way to distinguish the cancers from each other without watching them progress. Thermography is much better at watching them progress.
Thermography is useful for evaluating other parts of the body as well. Thermography is an excellent tool in sports medicine and pain management because it can map inflammation from neurologic or musculoskeletal dysfunction. It can also be of assistance in the evaluation of deep vein thrombosis, insufficiency of the blood supply, and more. We can even see changes in the area of the abdomen which could indicate inflammatory bowel disease like colitis, ileitis or Crohn's disease.
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