Is Breast Thermography Safe?
Breast Thermography is as safe as getting your picture taken. There is no radiation exposure or anything invasive about the test.
How is Breast Thermography different from a Mammogram?
Both tests are looking for completely different signs of breast cancer. Thermography looks for temperature changes which occur as a growing cancer alters the blood supply of the breast. Mammograms look for changes to the density of the tissues of the breast indicating the possible presence of a tumor. The medical literature views both procedures as complimentary to each other.
Can I use Breast Thermography as an alternative to Mammography?
Although this may sound appealing at first, there is no evidence supporting the use of thermography as an alternative to mammography at this time. Breast Thermography is extremely sensitive but will still miss a certain percentage of cancers. No one procedure (mammography included) is 100% accurate. Furthermore, the highest detection rates were seen when thermography was combined with physical examination and mammography.
For more info: see Is Breast Thermography an Alternative to Mammography?
I have no family history and am not at high risk for breast cancer. Why should I have a thermogram?
Although family history is considered a risk factor, most women who develop breast cancer have no family history. A positive thermogram is considered the highest risk marker for the future development of cancer. It is 8 times more significant than a family history. Thermography can show if a woman may actually be at high risk despite the lack of a family history of cancer.
I have a suspicious mammogram or felt a lump on my breast. Should I still have a thermogram?
Absolutely yes. The information provided from the thermogram can clarify the other findings ultimately helping your doctor make better decisions as the best way to manage the situation.
I have cancer and am scheduled for surgery. What benefit is there to thermography this late in the game?
Thermography performed before and after a surgery can help evaluate the success of the procedure. Additionally, once a woman develops breast cancer she is at higher risk to develop it again. It is imperative to protect the healthy breast.
Is special training required to perform Breast Thermography?
Yes. The IACT requires an additional 25 hours in breast protocols and analysis in addition to a general certification as a clinical thermographer to be breast imaging certified. Thermographic breast analysis is an extremely complex topic and should only be performed by a qualified doctor. Technician certification through the IACT includes breast imaging protocol. If the facility you are planning to visit is run by a certified technician, ALWAYS inquire as to the certification of the interpreter of your examination.
For more info see:
Who is Qualified to Perform Thermography
Education and Training
How much does the examination cost?
The fee depends on individual centers in different geographic regions. In the United States the average fee is $150-$200.
There is some confusion regarding the use of different names for thermal imaging. Can you explain this?
Thermography is the most common term used to describe the procedure of thermal (heat) imaging. In simplest terms, thermography means "picture of heat". Since thermography is used in many other applications, the addition of the prefix "clinical" or "diagnostic" denotes the use of thermography in the health care field.
- Certain modern terms are used interchangeably for thermography: electronic thermography, infrared thermography, telethermography, infrared imaging, thermal imaging, infrared thermal imaging, etc.
- Since computers are routinely used to capture and analyze the infrared data, terms are inserted to note this: computerized thermography, digital thermography, computerized thermal imaging, computerized infrared imaging, computed thermal imaging, digital infrared thermal imaging, digital infrared imaging, etc.
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