Infrared Digital imaging (DITI) known as THERMOGRAPHY, is a procedure where a woman sits with her Breast exposed in the presence of a Female Technician in front of a Computerized Heat Sensing camera like device that measures heat emanating from the skin of the chest wall and detects subtle increases in warmth from the Physiologic activity of growing tumors or infections. This detected warmth is assembled by a special computer program that presents a picture of the heat patterns that are detected.
These heat patterns can either represent NORMAL findings or something like a Breast Cancer THAT THAN NEEDS to be further evaluated by other imaging methods such as a Mammogram (x-ray), CT Scan, Ultrasound or MRI to actually diagnose the abnormality and even after all the imaging procedures are completed compel a physician to order an actual Biopsy to make a final Diagnosis. Click here to see the study published in New England Journal of Medicine which concludes that substantial over diagnosis is accounting for nearly a third of all newly diagnosed breast cancer cases.
The reason to order a Thermogram as a screen is that it doesn’t use any ionizing radiation (which a Mammogram does) that can actually cause a cancer saving a woman with no cancer the expense of being radiated to diagnose a normal finding. See the Video from The Doctors Medical talk show which shows the latest No- Touch screening.
Recently studies have come out trying to prove that xray Mammography is the only true and Complete way to screen for Breast Cancer claiming that Thermography MISSES areas of actual tumor therefore putting women at risk for missing a fatal cancer.
Unfortunately these studies are funded and interpreted by physicians with financial ties to the Mammogram community who sense a loss of business if Women start using Thermography for screening rather than Mammograms. Unfortunately these interests refuse to recognize that the Thermogram community openly says that it isn’t a diagnostic tool for final diagnosis and the other imaging procedures are still necessary whereas the x-radiating community is trying to prove that its way is the ONLY WAY based on studies that they perform using data points that sometimes exclude a fair set of data points using properly done Thermography interpreted by equally qualified MD Radiology trained practitioners. Click here to Read More about the how Thermography screeningss are becoming more accepted.
The country of Australia recently held court type procedures against several practitioners that may end up outlawing Thermography in the entire country and the spillover from that proceeding has now spilled over into Canada and hearings of similar type are beginning there that may have ominous outcomes as it runs through another set of biased hearing panels.
All that can be said from this physician blogger is that we have been using Meditherm Thermography www.meditherm.com since 2001 and have done thousands of Thermograms in our phoenix office all sent out to be read by professional Thermologists and have a library of patients some of whom who have had as many as 14 annual Thermograms and except for those women who knew that they had Breast cancer upon entering the practice have no known instances where a Breast Cancer was missed. Of course each patient was also evaluated by your author and referred to outside imaging sources where indicated.
The unfortunate part of the equation is that whereas Xray procedures are covered by third party insurance and Thermograms which can cost 40-50% less than a Mammography or 80% less than an MRI aren’t covered by patient insurance.
In any case thinking patients still seek out Thermography which is a much safer and comfortable procedure knowing that they still may need the other procedures when findings indicate.
In a perfect world Thermograms would be covered by Insurance and freedom of choice would provide the ultimate study base to make a perfect decision and fair interpretation of data.