Thermography's Role in BREAST SCREENING
Digital infrared thermal imaging, or thermography, is becoming more common as a non-invasive method to monitor breast health in women of all ages. Breast thermography uses an infrared camera, not radiation, to produce an image of heat distribution in the breast tissue. The resulting images can alert a doctor to changes in breast tissue that could indicate early signs of cancer, infection, noncancerous tumors, vascular disease, fibrocystic disease, mastitis or other abnormalities.
“Thermography is great for identifying dysfunction and pathology by showing the thermal abnormalities present in the body,” according to Jessica Schneider, Health Coach at For Your Health Thermal Imaging, LLC in Melbourne. “The scans are pain free, fast, radiation free and non-invasive.”
The simple scan is performed by a Certified Thermography Technician (CCT), who has been trained and certified by the American College of Clinical Thermology, which is an accredited medical association. The images are interpreted by a medical doctor who must be board certified as a thermologist.
According to Barbara Thurman, Doctor of Oriental Medicine in Stuart, “Thermography is a safe, painless, non-invasive screening that gives women an insight into their breast health much earlier than a mammogram or breast self-exam. It very accurately detects heat caused by issues such as inflammation, new blood vessel formation or chemical/hormonal changes which may be associated with tumor growth. The objective is to give women choices for preventative care, rather than treat disease.”
It is important to note that a one-time scan won’t give reliable information due to the fact that thermography is only suitable for monitoring breast health over time. A baseline for each patient must be established. This baseline represents a woman’s unique thermal fingerprint, which can only be altered by developing pathology. To establish a baseline, the first images are usually taken three months apart. After this, breast screening is generally recommended every two years for women between 20 and 30 years old and then annually after the age of 30.
The non-invasive, non-compression aspects are important to women who have dense, fibrous or tender breast tissue, which makes mammograms extremely uncomfortable or painful. Thermography is also safe for those with breast implants. Some women have expressed that the fact that thermography uses no radiation is their initial reason for seeking the scan over a mammogram.
“I had multiple patients who were getting no breast surveillance because they refused to allow the repetitive radiation exposure from screening mammograms. The notion of having a non-radiation option for surveillance of changes in the breasts has been a welcome notion. It’s generally found to be a pleasant experience,” states Dr. Donna Ivery, a medical doctor at HerCare in Titusville. “The ease of use and skilled interpretations from board-certified radiologists is the icing on the cake for me with this service.”
In addition, by performing thermography scans years before mammograms are typically recommended as a screening tool, women have the advantage of any breast abnormalities being detected very early, which can increase treatment options available and greatly improve the chance for positive outcomes.
“Thermography can locate potential problems before they become a major health issue, making it a great screening tool for breast cancer prevention. Thermography can show breast cancer cells 8 to 10 years before those cells form into what would be detectable on a mammogram,” states Katie Ainsley, CCT, at Thermography of Brevard in Melbourne. She was relating her experience with several patients who had thermography that detected cellular changes in breast tissue which were subsequently verified as the very earliest stage of breast cancer, making them far easier to treat. “I have also had several patients come in for thermography who have never had a mammogram for various reasons. I enjoy helping women find peace of mind through the use of comfortable thermography scans.”
Raise your awareness with a thermography screening.
To consider thermography as part of an ongoing breast health monitoring program, the following practitioners are available in this area to answer questions. They also provide very informative websites.
Katie Ainsley, CCT, 321-312-0363. Thermography of Brevard, 1051 Eber Blvd., Ste 102, Melbourne. ThermographyofBrevard.com
Dr. Donna Ivery (MD), 321-267-3787. HerCare, 4346 S Hopkins Ave, Titusville. HercareofBrevard.com
Jessica Schneider, CCT, Health Coach, 321-987-7893. For Your Health Thermal Imaging, LLC, 3270 Suntree Blvd, Ste A-128, Melbourne. YourThermalHealth.com
Barbara Thurman, DOM, AP, CCT, 772-781-5353. Acupuncture & Natural Healing Center,
Serving the Treasure Coast, call for screening locations. PointofHealth.com