It is easy to become enthusiastic about Thermal Imaging for many great reasons including the fact that it is completely safe with no radiation and no painful compression. This article seeks to encourage you to use and understand the technology for all the right reasons and with a full understanding of why it’s such a great but underused technology.
Thermal Imaging is not the panacia of all imaging modalities and conditions. There is no panacia when it comes to assessing breast health! It is however a very safe, user friendly and effective test designed to be used in conjunction with other testing modalities when indicated. It’s capable of gaining a clearer understanding of the physiology associated with a breast condition. Abnormal physiology reflects abnormal temperature readings and graphic patterns to allow specialist thermologists to assess change over time. Of particular interest is the physiologic change that can takes place up to a decade before there is any change in the structure of the breast (e.g. lump, calcification etc.). These early changes cannot be felt by manual palpation or pictured on a mammographic slide.
Because of its advanced ability to read physiology, thermal imaging is particularly effective for assessing future risk of breast cancer in younger women because it is very sensitive to the extremely early temperature changes associated with breast disease and many years before an actual tumour can be found using the other imaging methods.
Younger and younger women are being reported with breast cancer. There are very few options available to younger women to monitor this hideous disease. X-ray Mammography is not particularly safe or effective for screening younger breasts as the breast tissue is very dense and the amount of radiation necessary for a clear reading is not acceptable under safe exposure guidelines.
Because thermal imaging can record the very early onset of physiologic change, regular screening from age twenty or so holds great promise for very early risk assessment and corrective, evasive action when using comparative studies over time.
This does not infer that Thermal Imaging is not suitable for older women, it most definitely is, but caution must be exercised because previously un-detected tumours in older women may have been growing for many years and been encapsulated by the bodies own defence mechanism, rendering them “Thermographically Silent” in a small percentage of cases. Any disturbance of this encapsulated mass may trigger spontaneous growth which has not been detected by previous imaging. A really good question here for the research people is “When is a thermographically silent lump safe?”. I doubt there is a definitive answer to that question yet.
The caution here is, “listen to your body”. Do not put complete faith in any one modality if you are at all suspicious of change. If something has changed since having your last image taken, no matter how recent or what modality you used, weigh up your options, avail yourself of the whole range of testing procedures available, to clarify your situation to your very own satisfaction.
We encourage all our clients to be fully informed about the positive capabilities, limitations, risks and safety of whatever modality you choose to use whether it be mammograms, ultrasound, palpation, MRI or thermal imaging, so that the best outcome can be gained for your good health.