by Dr. Carla Garcia, D.O.M.
Breast screening is used to identify potential breast cancer in women who do not have symptoms.
“It is hoped that finding breast cancer early will enable women to undergo less invasive treatment with better outcomes.” (www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/316632.php)
Thermography records the temperatures that are given off by the body. “The presence of a cancerous growth is associated with the excessive formation of blood vessels and inflammation in the breast tissue. These show up on the infrared image (thermogram) as areas with a higher skin temperature.”
“Mammograms are images (of the breast) captured with X-ray technology to look for tumors or abnormalities in the breasts.” Tumors appear white on a mammogram.
The potential risks of mammography: “They require repeated exposure to radiation…”. “They can lead to non-invasive cancers being diagnosed and treated when treatment is not necessarily required. They are not as effective for women with dense breast tissue or breast implants. They have a high rate of false-positive results, which can result in unnecessary biopsies. They can lead to women choosing double mastectomies as a preventative measure.”
The article in Medical News Today did not list risks to thermography (because there are none); but did say that the drawbacks include: “It is rarely covered by medical insurance.” The false-positive rate “can result in women having to have the standard mammogram anyway. The false-negative rate can lead to avoidance of the standard mammogram.”
At the Thermography Center, we help to reduce the false-negative rate by doing a thorough physical breast examination. The false-negative rate is the result of slow-growing tumors that are “thermally silent”. Slow-growing tumors are usually palpable; but do not normally have the excessive formation of blood vessels and inflammation that accompany cancer growth. This is why a physical exam is offered to all of our patients. It means you are getting two breast exams for the price of one.