What is Thermography?
It is known that metabolic activity and vascular circulation in both pre-cancerous tissue and the area surrounding a developing breast cancer is almost higher than in normal breast tissue.
In an ever-increasing need for nutrients, cancerous tumors increase circulation to their cells by holding open existing blood vessels, opening dormant vessels and creating new ones. This process frequently results in an increase in temperature of the breast.
Infrared Cameras like what we have in our office produces a high-resolution image of these temperature variants. These may be among the earliest signs of breast cancers.
Thus again while Infrared Cameras are detecting heat produced by increase blood vessel circulation and metabolic changes associated a tumor genesis and growth. Mammogram, U/S and MRI’s are relying primarily on finding the physical tumor.
Thus structural vs. vascular is how we can look at these two different screening tools for breast cancer.
Also See breastthermography.com for additional helpful info.
The use of thermal imaging in health care is not a recent phenomenon. Its utilization in breast cancer screening, however, is seeing renewed interest. This attention is fueled by research that clearly demonstrates the value of this procedure and the tremendous impact it can have on the mortality of breast cancer.
The following is not a comprehensive review of the literature. Over 30 years of research compiling over 800 studies in the index-medicus exist. What follows is a pertinent summary of the research concerning the clinical application of infrared imaging (thermography) for use in adjunctive breast cancer screening. All the information is taken from the index-medicus peer-reviewed research literature or medical textbooks.
- In 1982, the FDA approved breast thermography as an adjunctive breast cancer screening procedure.
- Breast thermography has undergone extensive research since the late 1950’s.
- Over 800 peer-reviewed studies on breast thermography exist in the index-medicus literature.
- In this database, well over 300,000 women have been included as study participants.
- The numbers of participants in many studies are very large – 37K, 60K, 85K …..
- Some of these studies have followed patients up to 12 years.
- Strict standardized image interpretation protocols have been established for over 15 years.
- Breast thermography has an average sensitivity and specificity of 90%.
- An abnormal thermogram is 10 times more significant as a future risk indicator for breast cancer than a first order family history of the disease.
- A persistent abnormal thermogram caries with it a 22x higher risk of future breast cancer.
- An abnormal infrared image is the single most important marker of high risk for developing breast cancer.
- Studies have shown that breast thermography significantly augments the long-term survival rates of its recipients by as much as 61%.
- When used as part of a multimodal approach (clinical examination + mammography + thermography) 95% of early stage cancers will be detected.