The answer is yes!
Breast thermography is a valuable breast screening for women of any age and is especially beneficial for those with inconclusive mammograms, dense breasts, implants, and pregnant women. Like many women, I was unaware that breast thermography existed. While my pursuit of a noninvasive health assessment led me to find thermography, the search became more meaningful when two girlfriends were diagnosed with breast cancer in their early thirties, just three weeks apart from one another. Now, as a medical thermographer, my mission is to help women learn about this valuable breast screening tool.
It’s Gentle and Noninvasive
Breast thermography has become increasingly popular for two reasons. One, it’s gentle on the breasts – there is no compression, and it is X-ray free, so there is no radiation exposure. Second, thermographic evidence of breast disease may be visualized years before it’s felt by a physical exam or detected with traditional breast imaging. In fact, thermography can provide the first signal that an imbalance may be developing.
Think of a breast thermography screening as having your photo taken with a specialized camera that sees hot and cold patterns rather than light. A thermogram is a series of thermal images seen in both color and black and white. This noninvasive imaging tool can identify physiological changes in the breasts by analyzing temperature variations and vascular patterns. Due to thermography’s detection ability, temperature variations and vascular patterns, if abnormal, may be among the earliest signs of a pre-cancerous state as well as breast cancer.
Early Detection of Breast Cancer
Cancer is all about abnormal cell growth, an ever-increasing need for nutrients, and the need to be fed. Before a tumor forms, new blood vessels will start to grow in the area. But they are not normal blood vessels—they grow in abnormal patterns and produce an abnormal amount of heat. Neoangiogenesis, a hallmark of cancer, is the formation of new blood vessels that “feed” cancer. This process creates a temperature increase on the external surface of the breast that is captured by an infrared camera and visualized on a thermogram.
Just as a fingerprint is unique to the individual, so should a woman’s breast thermogram. Once a baseline is established, it is anticipated that the thermogram will remain stable from year to year. Even the slightest modification may constitute breast changes or an early sign of an abnormality. However, this information is used to recommend further investigation if pathology is suspected. In a normal, healthy state, the body has a thermal symmetry that should stay steady over a lifetime; asymmetrical patterns emerge only when some type of pathology develops and can be easily identified. When used as a screening tool, thermography can allow the visualization of the most subtle temperature differences within the body. The asymmetry seen on a thermogram assists in identifying suspicious areas and aids in the earlier detection of disease, including precancerous and cancer conditions.
As women, utilizing every breast cancer screening method available to evaluate breast health is imperative. Most tumors take years to grow, so the earliest indication of an abnormality is needed to allow for the earliest possible intervention with the least invasive treatment, if any. I believe that had my girlfriends been aware of breast thermography, their treatment options and outcomes would have been different. As a medical thermographer, I am honored to serve women seeking breast health screenings through thermal imaging.
April Beaman, RDH, CTT, medical thermographer, is certified by the Professional Academy of Clinical Thermology and is a professional member of Breast Thermography International. Beaman has worked in the wellness industry for over 17 years and provides medical thermal imaging and wellness support for both women and men. She is the founder of CT Thermography, located in Farmington, with satellite offices in Glastonbury, Hamden, Westport, CT, and Hadley, MA. Connect at 860.415.1150 or CTThermography.com