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  • Is breast thermography safe?
    Yes. Thermography is FDA-approved in the United States and has been used in Europe and many other countries around the world for over 30 years, including Canada. Because thermography is a non-invasive test, nothing is injected into your body. The images produced by this technology are simply measurements of the heat that your body emits naturally. There is no physical contact, no pain, and no radiation.
  • Can breast thermography diagnose breast cancer?
    No. A biopsy of the breast and accompanying histological evaluation is the only definitive diagnostic test for breast cancer.
  • Can thermography replace mammography?
    Thermography does not replace any other imaging technology, and no other imaging technology can replace thermal imaging. The tests are mutually beneficial. No single imaging technology can detect all early-stage cancers with 100% accuracy. As a result, thermography, mammography, ultrasound, and MRI cannot be used alone to provide women with true early detection. These are all complementary imaging technologies.
  • Have any studies been done regarding the accuracy of thermography?
    Absolutely! Hundreds of studies have been written up in peer-reviewed medical journals over the years. For a list of these studies, please go to our ESSENTIAL READING
  • How long does a thermography scan take?
    This procedure, including time to acclimate in the room, takes 45 minutes.
  • How often would I need to repeat this procedure?
    This depends on your initial findings. With low-risk findings, and depending on your age and general level of health, we will recommend annual or bi-annual screening. If your findings fall into the higher risk category, you will be asked to repeat this examination in 6 or 9 months to compare to the baseline. By Breast Thermography Guidelines An initial infrared scan has to be done by the age of 20 20-30 years of age – every 3 years 30 years of age and over – every year with low-risk findings
  • What happens if you find something suspicious?
    We will ask you to escalate to structural tests to make sure that nothing is being missed at that time. In the event that your other tests come back with negative results, we will continue to monitor you with greater frequency to make sure that there are no changes compared to your baseline images. We will also advise you to look at some of the risk factors that may be elevating your rating. These may include hormonal issues, diet, nutritional disturbances, endocrine disorders, and lifestyle modifications.
  • I have breast implants, is it safe to use thermography?
    Yes. Breast thermography is painless and safe, using no radiation or compression. It can be used effectively and safely for all women, including pregnant or nursing women, women with dense breast tissue, women with fibrocystic conditions, and women with breast implants.
  • Why do we have you plunge your hands into chilled water? (Cold challenge test)
    During your thermography test, you will be asked to plunge your hands into 10C water for 60 seconds. Your thermography technician will then repeat the process of imaging, providing before (baseline) and after (functional) images. Under normal, healthy conditions, your blood vessels will constrict, which is a normal physiological response. However, high-risk areas will not respond to this challenge at the same rate as the healthy surrounding tissue. The cold challenge test provides us with additional information that aids in our comprehensive analysis of your images. Thermography is a test of physiology that measures the physiological response (dynamic testing vs. static testing), thus a cold challenge test provides us with additional physiological assessment. Breast thermography clinics that do not perform a cold challenge test are making a grave mistake and doing a disservice to their clients by not following international standards and, in effect, performing only half the test. Please note, if you have Raynaud’s or any other condition that would prevent you from taking the cold challenge test during your thermography session, please inform your thermography technician, who will provide you with an alternative protocol that will not affect your condition.
  • How come thermography is not embraced by mainstream medicine?
    As a stand-alone test, thermography has been criticized for its high rate of false negative and false positive results. Historically, infrared cameras lacked the sensitivity to detect subtle temperature changes necessary to identify and monitor disease. Since the 1990s, major advancements in infrared technology, coupled with sophisticated computerized software programs, have resulted in a significant increase in the accuracy of thermal images. For example, a 4-year clinical trial by Parisky and colleagues demonstrated 97% sensitivity in the detection of breast cancer with the use of dynamic, computerized, thermal imaging. In another recent trial, modern digital thermography was also able to detect 97% of biopsy-confirmed breast malignancies. The high incidence of ‘false’ positive results documented with thermography can often be a reflection of breast abnormalities that are not yet palpable through breast examination or detectable through mammograms. Early research assessing approximately 58,000 women has shown that a significant percentage (>30%) of abnormal thermograms, in the absence of any other breast abnormalities, eventually manifest at a later stage as cancer.
  • What are the main benefits of thermography?
    One of the key benefits of thermography is its effectiveness in women with dense breasts, making it suitable for: • Younger women – approximately 18% of breast cancers are diagnosed in women during their forties. Women who develop breast cancer at a younger age tend to have more rapidly growing cancers that are more likely to metastasize (spread throughout the body). • Women taking hormone therapy – results from the Women’s Health Initiative trial revealed a significant increase in invasive breast cancer in women taking synthetic hormone replacement therapy. Serial thermograms can also help monitor the effects of hormone treatment for fibrocystic breasts. • Women with fibrocystic changes – fibrous breasts are very dense and can mask early cancers, particularly if no microcalcifications are present. Research has shown that approximately 40% of women with fibrocystic disease and an abnormal thermogram develop breast cancer within five years. Conversely, women with fibrocystic disease and a normal thermogram have a less than 3% likelihood of developing breast cancer. Thermography can also provide early warnings of breast abnormalities and highlight potentially suspicious cases, particularly when mammographic and clinical exams are equivocal or non-specific. • Thermography as an independent risk marker – An estimated 60-70% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have none of the obvious risk factors. For this reason, breast cancer has been considered an equal opportunity killer. According to a number of researchers, a persistently abnormal thermogram is thought to be “the single greatest indicator of breast cancer risk” and is considered 10 times more important than a positive family history for the disease. Because physiological changes over time are known to precede morphological changes, an abnormal thermogram can often be the first warning sign of an increased risk for breast cancer. • The value of thermography as a complementary tool – An increase in the detection rate of breast cancer has been demonstrated in a number of peer-reviewed studies with the combined use of clinical breast examination, mammography, and thermography. In one study using high-resolution thermography, an abnormal thermogram, coupled with a positive mammogram and clinical breast exam, was associated with a 98% sensitivity rate for breast cancer detection. The increase in sensitivity relates to the fact that mammography and thermography do not always identify the same lesion. For example, Gamagami’s research revealed that thermography is able to detect changes in breast temperature and vascularity in 86% of non-palpable breast cancers. This research also concluded that thermal imaging was able to detect 15% of cancers not visible through mammographic assessment. Based on the extensive research by Gautherie and Gros, approximately 10% of breast cancers can be detected at an earlier stage with the combined use of thermal imaging.
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