What is thermography?
Thermography, or DITI (Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging), is a non-invasive clinical imaging procedure for detecting and monitoring a number of diseases and physical injuries by showing thermal abnormalities present in the body. Thermograms can be taken of the whole body or just areas being investigated. Results come back quickly and will be sent to you and your physician if requested. Results obtained are completely objective and show excellent correlation with other diagnostic tests. All results and images are interpreted and reported by Board Certified MD Thermologists.
Monitoring ourselves regularly with self-examinations and going for mammograms is just yet another fun facet of being a female. Most women start using mammograms as a screening tool between the ages of 35-40 years old, unless they have a family history or other reasons to raise medical concern of breast cancer risk. While both self-examination and mammograms (a structural test) are important, they may not always be effective with early detection; which is critical for less invasive treatments and increased survival rates.
This is where thermography can be instrumental in early detection. These screenings are known for their ability to detect abnormalities that may not show up as quickly with other forms of screening or risk assessment; sometimes as much as 8-10 years earlier! Now that’s a game changer!
Breast cancer risk assessment
Approximately 70,000 men and women between the ages of 15-39 are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. The good news is that about 95% of breast cancer can be conquered when it’s discovered in its early stages. This is why thermograms are so important!
With breast cancer being one of the most treatable forms of cancer when detected early on, thermograms can be a critical risk assessment tool. It is most highly recommended for women under 50 because of denser breast tissue. Breast cancer is harder to see on a mammogram the denser the breasts are.
Is thermography new?
Although thermography has become more popular over recent years, it is not a new procedure and definitely not a new concept. Hippocrates, the founder of modern medicine, brought the idea of differences in skin temperatures being a sign of underlying pathologies. So, it is far from a new concept and while some may think they have never encountered it before, you may be surprised! Thermal imaging is often used in airports to check for weapons and fevers, first responders use it to check for people who may be trapped, and it is used in law enforcement and the military for surveillance.
As far as it being used for detection of breast cancer, thermography has been utilized since the 1950s. So it’s not even new in that arena.
Thermography has many benefits that are contributing to its rise in popularity. Here are just a few!
1-It offers a radiation-free approach to detecting different abnormalities in the body, such as:
Fibrocystic breast disease
Kidney, liver and other organ dysfunction
Reproductive organ dysfunction
AND SO MUCH MORE!
Unlike some other procedures used to detect abnormalities in the body, thermograms are non-invasive and don’t require any injections or physical contact with your body.
3-Able to detect inflammation in the body
This one is a biggie and also explains how it can help detect other health issues in your body and not solely breast cancer. Infections and disease cause inflammation in your body. Inflammation in your body is a signal that your immune system is kicking into gear to try to fight off illness or infection. It is the root of most disease. This is another reason thermograms prove to be invaluable, they not only can help detect early signs of breast cancer, but early signs of other health concerns too!
Is thermography safe?
Yes! It is incredibly safe. There are over 800 scientific studies proving safety and efficiency of thermography. As mentioned above, there is no radiation and nothing touches your body. It is solely executed through thermal imaging using an infrared camera which poses no potential harmful effects to your body.
It can be very worrisome for a woman who has a family history of breast cancer or who has had abnormal results from her mammograms in the past. Even though they may not want to put their body at more of a health risk by having more frequent mammograms, it is typically worth it for the peace of mind. It isn’t necessarily recommended to use thermograms in place of mammograms, but using thermography as an additional tool would absolutely be beneficial. The chances of catching breast disease at its earliest stages goes way up to about 94% when you combine structural testing (mammogram, ultrasound, MRI) with thermography.
DITI can be performed as early as 20-25 years old. This means that you have a baseline created long before receiving a mammogram or other testing, which will increase your chances of finding disease at its earliest stages. If there are abnormalities in blood flow patterns that can indicate cancer or other disease, you will then be sent for further testing.
How is thermography different from mammography?
There are essentially two different types of tests, and we are not saying to replace your mammograms entirely with DITI by any means.
The primary difference is that thermography is a physiological test that measures with infrared heat to detect physiological abnormalities (inflammation/dysfunction) and gauge risk factors. Mammography (and also ultrasounds and MRI)) are structural tests looking for existing structures. Once a structure (i.e. tumor) is large enough to block the light from the x-ray, it can then be detected. This is why thermography is toted to be an exemplary asset as a complementary tool in your detection arsenal. A tumor, on average, has been forming for 8 years before it’s big enough to be seen structurally. When you are screening at a cellular level with thermography, you are watching the changes as they start and can detect disease up to 8 years sooner! Your treatment is much less invasive and your outcome is greater.
If you have more questions about thermography or how it works, feel free to contact us! We would be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have in general, or specifically to do with you.