What is Thermography? Thermography is a non-contact technique for early detection of breast cancer without the hazard of carcinogenic radiation. (1) The infrared camera takes thermal images (pictures) that can detect subtle changes in breast physiology up to ten years before a cancerous tumor can be detected by other sources such as mammography or skilled palpation. This is the most reliable form of early detection though not often used by the medical field, it is becoming more readily available. Thermography has a 9% for both false positive and false negative readings. (2) Thermography is painless and offers a view of the entire chest and underarm area.
The infrared images show subtle temperature changes in the breast tissue. Blood supply or vascularity shows up hyperthermic (hot) and looks white in color. Hypothermic (cold) shows up dark in color. Normal breast tissue shows up in varying shades in-between.
TH-2 Benign Thermography Report: This Infrared Image shows symmetric vascular-like features as “hot” appearing like lightening bolts. There is the same amount of these features bi-laterally (both sides), which is normal. Also these features responded normally to the autonomic challenge, which means that when she put her hands on ice these features contracted down (get colder) as they should. There is no risk of malignancy with this reading so it is considered benign.
TH-3 Atypical Thermography Report: This Infrared Image shows an asymmetric vascular-like feature in the right breast, which appears on the left side of the picture (a mirror image). This hyperthermic feature (hot) did respond normally to the autonomic challenge putting this thermography reading at a <10% risk of confirming malignancy. If it didn’t respond normally or if it increased in emission levels post challenge then it would be a 20% risk of confirming malignancy.
TH-5F Abnormal Thermography Report: This Infrared Image shows vascular-like hyperthermic feature in the lateral (outside portion) of the right breast (point 1). This feature is abnormally complex and is >1.4ºC above the base emission levels (temperature) of the contra-lateral breast (point 2), which is considered and anarch sign (indicating pathology). This reading is at a 96% risk of confirming malignancy. When we add ‘F’ to the TH-5F it indicates that we are also seeing “cold” or hypothermic features in the caudal (lower portion) of the breasts indicating benign fiber-adenoma cysts.
This Infrared Image; Demonstrates diffuse hyperthermic features through out the entire upper body. These features show up like the spots on a leopard. This indicates hyper-metabolic lymphatic system typical of common viral infections, toxic exposure, seasonal or food allergies. The twenty-one day detoxification program offered at Optimum Health Clinic is instrumental in ridding the body of these toxins and supporting immune function.
Thermal Image Showing Yellow Banding:
This image would be rated TH2. The symmetric (in both breasts) hyperthermic features indicates a metabolic imbalance. This type of vascularity is seen in pregnant women and considered normal but when found in a menopausal woman it indicates an abundance of estrogen or an imbalance in the estrogen to progesterone ratio. This is also known as estrogen dominance and could lead to unhealthy breasts, if not addressed. Further testing of the hormones is recommend with natural supplementation as needed as a preventative measure.
OTHER USES FOR THERMOGRAPHY
Thermography can be used to detect dental infections, thyroid dysfunction, and cerebral infarction (stroke). Thermal imaging is a non-invasive view of the internal carotid arteries, which reveals varying stages of atherosclerosis, thus enabling early detection and possible prevention.
Thermal Images of the Jaw Showing a Root Canal Infection
Full Jaw Study can reveal a number of potential problems including but not limited to regional inflammation indicating malocclusion or dental infraction. Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMJ commonly caused from grinding teeth at night during sleep. Submandibular inflammation of the lymphatic glands due to dental infractions, or if seen through out the entire body could be from food allergies, seasonal allergies, viral infection or toxic exposure
Thermal Image showing a patient with DCIS in the cranial lateral quadrant of the right breast found from a biopsy.
Thermal Image showing this same patient with DCIS after 17 week of Following Dr. Gardner's Nutritional Protocol. The evidence of DCIS and the blood supply called Neo-angiogenesis is gone. See Dr. Gardner's research presented at Auburn University in 2003 published in the Townsend Letter November the same year.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THERMOGRAPHY
Is Thermography a good screening tool for younger women with genetic predisposition to breast cancer?
Yes because there is no radiation you can start your screening early so that you can avoid exposing yourself to the carcinogenic effects of repetitive radiation as with a mammography. Also Thermography is far more accurate on firm dense breasts where the error rate is nearly 60% with mammography.
Is is okay to get a thermography while I am pregnant?
Yes because there is no radiation or compression it is harmless to get a Thermography during pregnancy or while lactating.
Why doesn't the AMA promote the use of thermography?
There are thousands of radiologists and only a few experts in the field of thermography. A lot of money had been invested in the use of mammography. This could explain why information has been withheld regarding mammography's poor rate of accuracy and the harmful effects of radiation exposure. In addition, the Health Insurance Board has accepted thermography with its own CPT billing code 93762, yet many Health Insurance Companies reluctantly reimburse for this choice in screening. These tactics have, until recently, kept many of us from looking at thermography as a safe and effective alternative.
What is the procedure like?
The patient must first cool off from the waist up in a room approximately 68 degrees for up to 15 minutes so the warmer veins stand out from surrounding tissue. The Technician takes a series of 3 images, left, right, and frontal view, with an infrared camera (heat detecting). A second set of images is taken for comparison after the person holds her hands in ice water for one minute (autonomic challenge). Cancer is highly vascularized (having a significant blood supply) and because these neo-angeogenesis blood vessels are filled with nitrous oxide (a vassal dilator), they can't constrict with the autonomic challenge, so it is easily distinguished in comparison to normal tissue, which contracts considerably with the autonomic challenge. Thermography is safe, comfortable and a far more accurate screening tool.
Can Thermography be used on augmented breasts or with a mastectomy?
Yes. Since there is no pressure applied, there is no harm to the implants. Thermal imaging is a painless, non-invasive way to evaluate the lymphatic system, especially for those with a mastectomy.
How can you tell if a Thermographer is qualified?
They should be board certified and follow the standards of practice established by the American Academy of Thermology or a comparable organization.
- Patient should be unclothed on the upper body for 5 to10 minutes in a cool room of about 68F.
- Patient has at least three pictures (left right and frontal view) taken before and again after .
- The patient's hands are placed in ice water for one minute.
- Patient is provided a report where there is a description of the features in the images as well as how they responded to the autonomic challenge (hands in cold water).
For more information on Thermography, all the other breast screening tools and how to lower your risk factors for breast cancer visit Dr. Gardner's non-profit website: www.healthybreasts.info
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(1) Preventing Breast Cancer by Dr. John Goffman head of radiology at UC Berkeley
(2) The Marseilles Study at the Pasteur Institute 1976 of over 3,000 patient for over 5 years.