Thermography Detects Cancer
Eight Years Sooner than X-Rays
After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common form diagnosed in women in the U.S. Breast cancer can occur in both men and women, but is far more common for women. Substantial support for breast cancer awareness and research funding has helped improve screening, diagnosis and treatment, and the number of deaths has been steadily declining. Earlier detection, a new, personalized approach to treatment and a better understanding of the disease in general are all signs of progress.
In 1982, thermography, also known as digital infrared thermal imaging (DITI), was approved as an adjunct to mammograms for early detection. DITI is a noninvasive, painless and safe diagnostic procedure in which an infrared camera is used to record thermal patterns and temperature variations on the surface of the body. These thermal patterns produce 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 X-ray and MRI.
DITI provides several special benefits that missing in a mammogram, such as a radiation-free diagnosis. During a mammogram, breasts are clamped between two plates and radiation is passed through the breasts tissue. However, any abnormalities outside the borders of the breasts between the plates can be missed.
According to the American College of Clinical Thermology, “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 eight years before mammogram can.”
For Emerald Coast Hend-Rx Nutrition & Laboratories, a member of the American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM), DITI is a valuable procedure that alerts patients and their doctor to early signs of breast disease. “It is especially appropriate for younger women 30 to 50 years old, whose denser breast tissue makes it more difficult for mammography to be effective,” states owner Garry Hendricks, a naturopathic doctor. “Infrared mammography is ideal for woman with dense, fibrocystic breast, small or large breast, breast reductions or implants, woman that are lactating and woman that have undergone lumpectomies or mastectomies.” The first DITI test can provide a clinical marker to the doctor that a specific area of the breast needs particularly close examination. “This first session provides the baseline of your 'thermal signature' and subsequent session assures that the pattern remains unchanged,” explains Hendricks.
Medical thermography has been used extensively in Europe, Asia and the U.S. for more than 20 years. Whether as a preventative measure in an annual check-up or as part of taking the next step in addressing a diagnosis, DITI can help make informed decisions that are years ahead of the status quo.
Kyla Stevens is a freelance writer for Natural Awakenings magazines and lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. Connect at Kyla.Stevens@ncf.edu.