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Frequently Asked Questions

Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging is a unique technology that takes a picture and creates a map of the infrared patterns of the body. It is different than other screening tools because it helps us to see function (physiology). MRI and X-ray detect anatomical changes so will miss such things as active inflammation or angiogenesis (increased blood supply as found in disease). Thermography was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (US) as an additional diagnostic tool for breast screening and diagnosis in 1982. Studies have shown that thermography can detect early danger signs in the body years before other tools, and it has been shown to be effective in finding early signs of breast disease up to 8 years before mammography may detect it.

There are 3 areas that Thermography is useful:
Inflammatory Phenomena- This could include early detection of cardiovascular disease, arthritis, Fybromyalgia or trauma such as strains, sprains or chronic pain.

Neovascular Phenomena – Cancer is fed by the body’s own blood supply. This development of early vascularity is detected well before anatomical changes occur that will be detected with other screening tools.

Neurological Phenomena – Chronic regional pain syndrome, nerve irritation can cause referred pain in other areas. Circulatory deficits are easily seen in thermographic images.

Thermography has been comprehensively researched for over 30 years. While it is not a replacement for Mammography and other imaging techniques, it has been shown to have a valuable role to play as a preventative and monitoring tool, earlier detection of neovascular (blood supply) patterns, adjunct to inconclusive mammograms, improved detection for women with dense breasts or implants or a reasonable alternative for women who refuse mammogram.

Like many alternative diagnostic tools or treatments, the facts are not always disclosed. Thermography was summarily dropped from breast screening in the 1980’s after only 1 year of use. The reason was sited as being it detected too many false positives and therefore was not specific enough. This is ironic since the mammogram has a 65% false positive rate and recent studies have shown that it is a poor predictive tool. 90% of MD’s know nothing of the technology and so are critical of that which they don’t know. The other 10% seem to quote research from 22 years ago from a few small studies and ignore the plethora of positive research.

Yes, as a routine screening tool, it has been shown to be 97% effective at detecting benign vs malignant breast abnormalities. Another study tracked 1537 women with abnormal thermograms for 12 years. They had normal mammograms and physical exams. Within 5 years, 40% of the women developed malignancies. The researchers commented “”an abnormal thermogram is the single most important marker of high risk for the future development of breast cancer” These results have been repeated over and over again for nearly 30 years.

While a variety of studies have called into question the safety of cumulative exposures to radiation, this is not the case with Thermography. Thermography emits nothing, it only takes an image. Nothing touches you and it is quick and painless. This all makes Thermography great for frequent screening with no chance of danger.

The images are sent via a secured server to Physicians Insight Clinical Interpretation where a professional group of physicians who are trained in the protocols of reading Thermal images interpret the images. A very formal interpretation is made and sent to us where we will review the results and make suggestions or referrals if necessary. You are given a copy of the report and frequently we send copies of the reports to physicians for their records.

Thermography is not diagnostic but gives early risk factors. This is great news because an abnormal result from a thermogram is usually so early that it often buys time so that natural interventions such as herbs, supplements and lifestyle changes can influence the outcome. At the least, the condition can be closely monitored safely until conventional interventions need to be applied. It is important to recognize that early detection is the key to a good outcome. We will make recommendations or referrals as necessary. We do not diagnose or treat cancer.

Anyone who is interested in proactively taking charge of their health and not focused exclusively on specific disease diagnosis will benefit from Thermal Imaging. A thermal assessment combined with guidance from a trusted healthcare provider is an opportunity to achieve desired results of optimal health and longevity.

The infrared camera images the skin surface (1/4 inch), which is a wealth of information reflecting internal metabolism and physiological changes. Thermography does not need to penetrate and invade the body to obtain unique and critical information regarding status of health.

There is an assumption that “early detection” would be related to “cancer”. Thermography is very sensitive but not specific.  What that means is changes that would not be visible to any other examination can be very apparent and indicate an opportunity to make changes for the purpose of optimizing and preserving health. We believe thermography is an early detection of negative changes in the body that, if left unaddressed can lead to different life changing diseases.

faq1

Thermography can help you monitor the health of your breasts with a baseline documenting patterns at the time of the initial study and any subsequent significant changes.

Thermography does not see deep inside the body, as it is non-invasive. If our Interpreting Physicians see something that they would consider “thermographically significant” they will give you a strong and intentional encouragement to seek further clinical correlation and evaluation. Remember that “Thermographically Significant” does NOT necessarily mean concern for a specific disease, but an indication of an abnormal thermal pattern(s) that meet a certain clinically acceptable level of significance.

Thermography is not the “other mammogram”, it is completely different. A procedure that can assess a global picture of the general health of the entire chest does not replace a procedure that is examining only a limited portion of the breast … for cancer only.

Knowledge and professional guidance including; diet, exercise, supplementation, dry brushing, hormone balancing as well as lifestyle choices and changes are the useful ways to support breast and general health.

A healthy body is expected to be thermally symmetrical. The Interpreting Physicians are looking for signs of significant asymmetry which can indicate valuable indications such as; natural healing signs of inflammation, blood profusion, lymphatic congestion, injury, hormonal imbalance and much more. After evaluating these areas they will assess their level of concern (low, moderate or high) as it relates to the thermal patterns. They will also recommend a follow up appointment for further evaluation, if necessary, or to establish a stable baseline.

Getting mammograms is available to everyone and is a very personal choice for every woman. We encourage you to discuss this with your doctor or trusted healthcare practitioner. We also encourage you to educate yourself about the associated risks, so that you can make an educated decision best for you.

This is a very personal question. Each case is individual and unique. I can tell you that I have educated myself so that I can prepare myself as much as possible in the unlikely event of a diagnosis. Without preparation I have witnessed how decisions can be extremely difficult and sometimes with regret for feeling rushed.

faq2

What is a baseline?

A baseline is two identical studies, taken at two different times to determine if patterns are stable or if there are any changes. Therefore, the follow-up appointment is the most valuable. If the patterns are stable and not significant, there will be a recommend annual follow-up or earlier if any concerns should arise in the meantime. If there is not stability, there may be recommendation for further clinical evaluation and another follow up in 3 – 6 months.

Not typically, but in this way, the value of thermography is not defined by an insurance company, but by what an individual is willing to pay for unique, valuable information regarding their health.

Resource Files

The largest study of mammography, recently published by a group of Canadian researchers, casts doubt on the value of mammography as a screening test for breast cancer.

Read Article

At Thermography Medical Clinic, the key paradigm of breast health screening is prevention, with detection playing more of a complementary role.

More Articles

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Physicians Insight

Medical Interpretations. Med-Hot has confidence in the doctors who interpret for Physicians Insight and their professional reporting styles.

The IAMT and its membership is open to all thermographers, regardless of which technology they have purchased.

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Fast Facts

In 1982, the FDA approved breast thermography as an adjunct diagnostic breast screening procedure.

Of the extensive research conducted since the late 1950’s, well over 300,000 women have been included as study participants.

The size of the studies are very large: 10k, 37k, 60k, 85k

Some studies have followed participants up to 12 years.

Strict standardized interpretation protocols have been established for 15 years to remedy problems with early research. Breast thermography has an average sensitivity and specificity of 90%.

An abnormal thermogram is 10 times more significant as a future risk indicator for breast disease than a first order family history.

A persistent abnormal thermogram carries with it a 22x higher risk of future breast disease.

Extensive clinical trials have shown that breast thermography significantly augments the long term survival rates of its recipients by as much as 61%. When used as a multimodal approach (clinical exam + mammography + thermography), 95% of early stage cancers will be detected.

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