Who should have this test?
All women can benefit from breast thermography screening. However, it is especially appropriate for younger women (30 - 50) whose denser breast tissue makes it more difficult for mammography to be effective. Also for women of all ages who, for many reasons, are unable to undergo routine mammography. This test can provide a 'clinical marker', to the doctor or mammographer, that a specific area of the breast needs particularly close examination.
It takes years for a tumor to grow thus the earliest possible indication of abnormality is needed to allow for the earliest possible treatment and intervention. Thermography's role in monitoring breast health is to help in early detection and monitoring of abnormal physiology.
Breast cancers tend to grow significantly faster in younger women under 50
AgeAverage Tumor Doubling Time
Under 50 80 Day
50 - 70 157 Days
Over 70 188 Days
Source: Cancer 71:3547-3551, 1993
The faster a malignant tumor grows, the more Infrared radiation it generates. For younger women in particular, results from thermography screening can lead to earlier detection and, ultimately, longer life.
Doctors do not yet know how to prevent breast cancer. However, you can increase your chances of detecting breast cancer in its earliest stages by understanding the need for, and participating in, an early detection program.
Only about 20 percent of biopsied breast lumps are cancerous. And, if cancer is found early, there are choices for treatment. With prompt treatment, the outlook is good. In fact, most women treated for early breast cancer will be free from breast cancer for the rest of their lives.
Inflammatory Breast Cancer
The results of this routine study led to the diagnosis of inflammatory carcinoma in the right breast. There were no clinical indications at this stage. (Thermography can show significant indicators several months before any of the clinical signs of inflammatory breast disease, skin discoloration, swelling and pain). Inflammatory breast disease cannot be detected by mammography and is most commonly seen in younger women, the prognosis is always poor. Early detection provides the best hope of survival.
Ductal Carcinoma in Situ
This 37 year old patient presented for routine thermographic breast screening, she was not in a high risk category and had no family history. No breast exams had been performed previously. The vascular asymmetry in the upper left breast and the local hypothermia at 11 O’clock was particularly suspicious and subsequent clinical investigation indicated a palpable mass at the position indicated. A biopsy was performed and a DCIS of 2 cm was diagnosed. Unfortunately this patient only survived for 12 months after diagnosis.
Male Breast Cancer
One per cent of breast cancers are found in men. The survival rate is much lower than in women as most breast cancers in men are only detected in advanced stages.
This tumor was palpable at the time of imaging, there is a well established vascular feed which has even caused increased blood flow at the left brachial plexus and there is also drainage toward the sternum that extends to below the left breast.