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How Does Thermography Compare to Mammography

How does thermography compare to mammography? We included a quote from Dr. Tom Hudson, Radiologist and Thermologist specializing in breast cancer diagnosis, to help answer this question.

One of the first questions we are often asked is how does thermography compare to mammography? We included a quote from Dr. Tom Hudson, Radiologist and Thermologist specializing in breast cancer diagnosis, to help answer this question.

“Both tests can produce images of the breasts, and both offer the possibility of early breast cancer detection, but other than that, they have nothing in common. They’re different tests, produced in different ways, showing completely different things.  Mammography involves radiation and breast compression. Thermography requires neither. Mammography shows anatomy (structure). Thermography measures subtle temperature changes in the skin associated with underlying pathology. It is a physiological test only. It cannot “see” a cancer. Mammography can detect cancer very early, as small as a few millimeters. Thermography can detect physiologic changes while it is still at a cellular level—before it becomes visible on a mammogram.

In short, thermography is a way to monitor breast health, not just a way to detect breast disease. Mammography can show you if you have a cancer or not, but other than that it has little purpose. Thermography offers a woman the chance to become aware of worrisome physiological changes before there is a diagnosable disease—which is when risk-reduction strategies such as diet, exercise, and stress reduction are most effective.” – Dr. Tom Hudson

Sometimes Doctors may not embrace thermography, most likely because he or she knows little or nothing about thermography.  Lack of knowledge does not make the test invalid.  The reporting doctor reading your thermogram and preparing your report and results is available to speak directly with your own healthcare provider if there are any questions.  Now, more than ever, is the time for women to take control of their own health.  Check out all the options and make an educated decision.  

Ingrid Adams, CCT
Ursula Walker, CCT  
Bras Thermography 

Brasthermography.com, 425.677.8430
Located in Gilman Village, Issaquah

 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

G Zhang December 14, 2012 at 10:12 PM
The reason most doctors "may not embrace thermography" is because there is no evidence it works. From the FDA: "The FDA is not aware of any valid scientific data to show that thermographic devices, when used on their own, are an effective screening tool for any medical condition including the early detection of breast cancer or other breast disease." http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/Safety/AlertsandNotices/ucm257259.htm From the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation: "Thermography is not recommended by any medical authority or leading cancer organization including CBCF, Health Canada or the Canadian Medical Association and there is no credible research study identifying thermography to be an effective screening tool for detecting breast cancer." http://www.cbcf.org/bc/AboutUsMain/MediaCenter/NewsReleases/Pages/Thermography-Not-Effective-For-Screening.aspx
Ingrid Adams December 15, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Thank you for your comments. Thermography may not be for everyone but it is FDA approved as an adjunctive test. All tests have their limitations, so it is best to use a combined approach. Ultimately it is up to the individual. There are a number of doctors and organizations that do support thermography and its research, and we encourage everyone to keep themselves informed with as many points of view as possible. http://www.breastthermography.com/infrared_imaging_review.htm http://www.ubcf.info/c/326/breast-therm http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christiane-northrup/the-best-breast-test-the-_b_752503.html http://www.yourjourneytohope.com/about.html
Jeanne Gustafson December 15, 2012 at 03:46 AM
I thank you both for the additional links as well, and I do want to note that Bras has not at any time recommended foregoing mammograms or claimed that Thermography is a substitute for other important cancer screenings, such as mammograms. From the FDA: “While there is plenty of evidence that mammography is effective in breast cancer detection, there is simply no evidence that thermography can take its place,” said Helen Barr, M.D., director of the Division of Mammography Quality and Radiation Programs in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. The FDA in this release was pointing out issues with Thermography providers that were recommending it at a standalone breast cancer test (http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm257633.htm), which it has not yet been approved for. Ingrid, of Bras, has not made any such claims in her posts here.
G Zhang December 15, 2012 at 05:07 PM
First, it's wonderful that the Patch is making this discussion available, where readers are given information from a variety of sources, which helps women make up their own minds. Jeanne, I didn't claim that Ingrid was advocating that women stop doing mammograms. I was just pointing out that the FDA and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation say there's no evidence thermography works. In fact, it's illegal to use thermography to screen for breast cancer in Canada due to the lack of evidence and the "potential risk to women relying on the results." Having said that, one of the links that Ingrid has since supplied certainly seems to discourage women from using mammograms: "You would be surprised by how many women tell me their doctors make them feel guilty for not having a mammogram. . . . Don't be intimidated if you prefer to forgo annual mammography." http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christiane-northrup/the-best-breast-test-the-_b_752503.html
G Zhang December 15, 2012 at 05:08 PM
In regards to the FDA's concerns about false claims, the FDA said: "Web sites . . . claim that thermography can find breast cancer years before it would be detected by mammography. The problem is that FDA has no evidence to support these claims." http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm257499.htm Every one of Ingrid's four links makes that same claim: (1) ". . . signs of possible cancer or pre-cancerous cell growth may be detected up to 10 years prior to being discovered using any other procedure." http://www.ubcf.info/c/326/breast-therm (2) "Consequently, thermography is the earliest known indicator for the future development of breast cancer." http://www.breastthermography.com/infrared_imaging_review.htm (3) "It also has the potential to truly detect breast cell anomalies long before mammography can detect cancer . . ." http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christiane-northrup/the-best-breast-test-the-_b_752503.html (4) "The unique ability to detect changes suspicious of breast cancer before it can be seen on a mammogram . . ." http://www.yourjourneytohope.com/thermography.html Ingrid made a similar claim in an earlier post: "Thermography can detect abnormalities up to 7 years earlier than any other breast screening." http://sammamish.patch.com/blog_posts/the-safe-breast-health-screening-you-need-to-know-about According to the FDA, there's no evidence for any of those claims. (Btw, 3 out of Ingrid's 4 links do thermography as a business.)
Jeanne Gustafson December 15, 2012 at 05:42 PM
I know this test has been a subject of much controversy, and I appreciate you weighing in as well, G Zhang. I agree that a space for the discussion and the ability to provide information from all perspectives is important.

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