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Breast Thermography: Aiding in Early Breast Cancer Detection

by Anthony Piana, DC

Breast thermography is a state-of-the-art screening procedure that captures heat images of the breast to aid in the early detection of breast cancer. As a tumor grows it develops a bigger (and hotter) blood supply. An infrared camera picks this up as a heat signal through technology developed for the military and space programs. The data is turned into a colorful image and it is then easy to see the differences that are present from side to side and see where tumor development may be taking place.

Breast thermography was discovered in 1956 in Montreal, Canada and rapidly became popular throughout the world. It was FDA approved as a screening procedure for cancer in 1982. Recent advancements in technology have allowed us to perform even better exams. A 2008 Study published in the American Journal of Surgery, performed at New York Presbyterian Hospital Cornell, showed thermograms identifying 58 out of 60 malignancies when compared to biopsy, thus a 97% sensitivity.

Breast thermographic technology has been gaining national prominence and more widespread use recently due to the publicity received by radiation-based screening technologies in the guidelines issued by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Federal Government. Thermography should be included in every woman’s regular breast health regimen annually.

A very important area of consid-eration is the neglected category of women under the age of 40. We do not hear much about it, but there are about 20,000 cases of breast cancer in this age group. When breast cancer occurs in a younger woman it is usually a much more aggressive form, and less likely to respond to treatment. It is with these women that the standard of care needs to include thermographic testing annually, as there is currently no other routine diagnostic test for them.

It is well known that early detection is the best defense against breast cancer and that, if treated in the earliest stages, a 95% cure rate is achieved.

Available Research

The Index Medicus, a comprehensive index of medical scientific journal articles, references more than 800 peer-reviewed breast thermography studies, in which over 250,000 women participated. Many of these studies involved very large groups of patients (from 37,000 to over 100,000) and some have followed patients for as much as 12 years. Among other con-clusions, these studies found that when thermography has been added to a woman’s regular breast health checkups, a 61% increased survival rate was realized, and when used as part of a multi-modal approach (clinical examination, mammo-graphy and thermography) 95% of early stage cancers will be detected.

Other Applications

Extensive research has also been performed on other diseases such as skin cancer, prostate cancer, cerebrovascular disease, deep vein thrombosis, thyroid conditions, dentistry, equine science, and much more. Although skin cancer detection is still labelled "experimental" it is the opinion of the author that thermography is the most accurate non-invasive way of identifying these common cancers, and should be a part of everyone’s annual check-ups.

Thermography is not covered by insurance companies at this point. Most thermography centers charge a reasonable fee for this miraculous technology. For example our centers charge $299 for a complete breast series with a com-prehensive report that includes pictures. A full body scan runs $599. When this is put in perspective, most women agree that this is a small price to pay for breast cancer prevention.

More Information

There is plenty of information available online. You may read more on our website at www.btiscan.com.

Anthony Piana, DC is a Board Certified Thermographer and is the Founder of Breast Thermography International and Thermographic Wellness. He trains doctors from all over the world in thermography.

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