Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, and current research indicates that 1 in every 8 women in the US will get breast cancer in their lifetime. In 2015, the American Cancer Society projected there to be more than 230,000 diagnosed cases of breast cancer annually, and more than 26,000 in women under the age of 45.
Current methods used to detect suspicious signs of breast cancer depend primarily on the combination of both physical examination and mammography. While this approach has become the mainstay of early breast cancer detection, more is needed. Since the absolute prevention of breast cancer has not become a reality as of yet, efforts must be directed at detecting breast cancer at its earliest stage. As such, the addition of Digital Infrared Imaging (Breast Thermography) to the frontline of early breast cancer detection brings a great deal of good news for women. Thermography is a radiation-free, state-of-the-art screening procedure that uses heat detection to locate areas of temperature difference in the body.
The use of Thermography is based on the principle that metabolic activity and vascular circulation in both pre-cancerous tissue and the area surrounding developing breast cancer is almost always higher than in normal breast tissue. In an ever-increasing need for nutrients, cancerous tumors increase circulation to their cells by holding open existing blood vessels, opening dormant vessels, and creating new ones (neoangiogenesis). This process frequently results in an increase in regional surface temperatures of the breast. Breast Thermography uses ultra-sensitive medical infrared cameras and sophisticated computers to detect, analyze, and produce high-resolution images of these temperature variations. These temperature variations may be among the earliest signs of breast cancer and/or a pre-cancerous state of the breast.
Studies show that an abnormal infrared image is the single most important marker of high risk for developing breast cancer, 10 times more significant than a family history of the disease. Consequently, in patients with a persistently abnormal thermogram, the examination results become a marker of higher future cancer risk. Depending upon certain factors, re-examinations are performed at appropriate intervals to monitor the breasts. This gives a woman time to take a pro-active approach by working with her doctor to improve her breast health. By maintaining close monitoring of her breast health with infrared imaging, self-breast exams, clinical examinations, mammography, and other tests, a woman has a much better chance of detecting cancer at its earliest stage and preventing invasive tumor growth.
When digitally produced, and interpreted by qualified doctors, abnormalities or changes in infrared images provide invaluable information. The use of serial infrared imaging can draw additional attention to areas that require further evaluation or closer scrutiny during initial or subsequent exams. This further evaluation may include additional imaging such as mammography, ultrasound, or MRI.
Breast Thermography is readily available to all woman at any age, does not require a prescription and is affordable.