What is Thermography?
Thermography, also known as Digital Infrared Thermographic Imaging (DITI), is a noninvasive, painless, and safe adjunctive diagnostic procedure, which records thermal patterns and temperature variations on the surface of the body by a Meditherm infrared camera. This test produces real-time digital images (thermograms) that reveal sites of physiologic dysfunction and/or abnormal tissue growth, as well as nerve and vascular changes that are invisible to an xray or MRI.
Thermography has been around since the 1950’s when used as a top-secret cold war spying device. In 1957, Dr. R. Lawson, a surgeon found that his patients whom had breast cancer had higher temperatures over the cancer area. He was the first to use Breast Thermography to study breast cancers. Since this time it has been widely used in many countries, including Europe, Asia and now the United States as a diagnostic tool to pick up areas of inflammation in the body which is now recognized to be a precursor to many diseases, such as cancer, arthritis, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
According to the American College of Clinical Thermology (ACCT), “While X-rays, ultrasound, and mammography show us the structure of the body, they will miss such things as active inflammation and increased blood supply as found in many illnesses. DITI has been shown to be effective in finding early signs of breast cancer up to ten years before a mammogram can.”
By the time a tumor has grown to a sufficient size to be detectable by either a mammogram or a physical examination, it has been growing for several years, and has achieved more than 25 doublings of the malignant cell colony. Cancer cells create new blood vessels in order to multiply rapidly. Blood carries heat and these altered patterns can be detected by thermography. This does not necessarily indicate cancer however, either there’s an unusual formation of blood vessels, or something is causing the tissues to heat up. The cause could be from trauma to the breast, inflammation, or benign breast disease. Because thermography can pick up these patterns up to 10 years before mammography, it is a good tool to catch cancer early and enact lifestyle changes for prevention of further disease processes. When unusual heat patterns are revealed, a mammogram is then recommended.
Here’s what to expect when having a thermogram:
Step 1: You sit in a temperature-controlled room to allow your body to cool from any external conditions.
Step 2: You’re positioned in front of a Thermal Imaging Camera, and the technician takes digital pictures (5-15 minutes).
Step 3: Your pictures are read by a certified physician for analysis of 1) the amount of heat and 2) the symmetry of the heat patterns.
Step 4: You’ll receive a report of findings, where your doctor will determine the need for any further diagnostic studies and will provide recommendations for ways to reduce inflammation, if present, and provide personal health coaching programs if desired. Thermography is recommended annually to monitor your health and watch for changes.
Thermography can help detect many other dis-eases in your body such as; Arthritis, Neck and Back Pain, Dental Issues, Sinus Issues and Headaches, Immune Dysfunction, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), Digestive Disorders, Heart Disease and much more.
There have been over 800 peer reviewed studies on Breast Thermography in the Index Medicus Literature. These studies include over 300,000 women which have been followed for up to 12 years. These studies reflect that Breast Thermography has a 90% accuracy and sensitivity to detect changes in breast tissue necessary for prevention and assessment regarding cancer suspicion.