Thermography and Infrared Breast Cancer Screening

Breast thermography is a non-invasive measurement of the physiology of breast tissue. Approved by the FDA for breast cancer risk assessment, it is effective for women under 40, nursing mothers, women with fibrocystic or large breasts and women who have had implants or surgical reduction.

Thermal breast imaging is not meant to replace mammography or other tests that measure anatomical abnormalities in breast tissue. While breast cancer can only be diagnosed by a tissue biopsy, thermography provides vital information that can help detect signs of cancer earlier than a physical exam or a mammogram.

White lines are blood vessels, showing the vascular pattern within the breast.

How Does Breast Thermography Work?

By scanning the breast area with a highly-sensitive camera, thermal technology creates a visual “heat map” of the breast that can help detect pre-cancerous conditions years before other tests.

Early breast cancer growth is greatly dependent on increasing the blood supply to tumors by creating new blood vessels. This is called angiogenesis, and it is promoted by a “tumor angiogenesis factor” that is secreted by the cancer cells. This process causes variations in temperature that can be detected by modern computerized breast thermography imaging equipment.

Breast thermography measures differences in infrared heat emission from normal breast tissue, benign breast abnormalities (such as fibrocystic disease, cysts, and benign tumors) and from breast cancers.

Thermal Breast Imaging does not use radiation, and does not require breast compression or contact. Therefore, a suspicious area can be monitored without the risk of radiation exposure or squeezing the tumor. The sensitive thermography equipment can detect minute variations of blood vessel activity detecting the presence of an early cancer that cannot be felt as a lump and may not be evident with mammography. This can be especially helpful in women with dense or fibrocystic breast tissue.

The accuracy of infrared imaging is similar to the accuracy of mammography. Both techniques have false negatives and false positives. When thermal imaging is combined with a mammogram, the detection rate for breast cancer climbs to over 90%.

Color images demonstrate temperature pattern.

Advantages of Thermal Breast Imaging (Thermography)

• Safe, and pain free.
• No squeezing of breast tissue.
• No radiation exposure, no risk of causing cancer. The test can started at a young age, and repeated as often as your doctor recommends if your results are not normal, and you need to be more closely monitored.
• Fibrocystic disease does not make the test less effective.
• Breasts with implants can be effectively tested.
• Effective after surgery to make sure the tumor was removed.
• Effective for any size breast.
• Provides opportunity for early intervention if the test is not completely normal.
• Can demonstrate tissue with estrogen dominance and greater risk.

Recommended Guidelines for Thermal Breast Imaging

• A baseline exam between the ages of 20 and 25, followed by an exam every three years until the age of 30.
• Patients age 30 and over should have yearly exams.
• Patients identified as “high risk” because of family history or other factors, should have exams more often based on their doctor’s advice. As scans are non-invasive and involve no radiation, there is no danger in having more frequent scans.

The affordable Thermal Breast Imaging fee covers a thorough thermal breast imaging scan, analysis and evaluation by a qualified reader, and a comprehensive written report sent to the physician of your choice. Payment is expected at the time of service unless other arrangements are made in advance.

Thermal breast imaging is generally not covered by insurance. Please call or email for additional information.

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