When infrared imaging is added to clinical examinations and mammography, a 95% detection rate for all early stage cancers is reached.
Medical Thermography is FDA registered for the use in detection of:
* Adjunctive diagnostic screening for the detection of breast cancer
* Peripheral vascular disease
* Neuro-musculoskeletal disorders
* Extra-cranial cerebral and facial vascular disease
* Thyroid gland abnormalities
* Other neoplastic, metabolic and inflammatory conditions
Thermography uses an ultra-sensitive infrared camera, which captures images based on the heat that is produced from the surface of your body. It not only detects skin surface temperatures, but it also captures images of blood vessel patterns and nervous system responses.
When the body is functioning optimally, a distinct pattern of temperature/heat is radiated off the body. There should be no temperature difference between sides of the body. Thermography helps to detect variations from theses normals, as well as detecting side to side differences. This is the difference between a health “screening” and “risk assessments.” Screening exams specifically look for distinct signs of disease. Risk assessments, such as medical thermography, look for signs that a disease may be present or is more likely to develop in the future. This makes sense, and is at the very core of naturopathic philosophy. Detect the abnormalities and possible pathology, before it becomes a larger problem.
The camera that we use at the Windhorse Naturopathic Clinic is called the Spectron IR. It is one of the most sophisticated systems currently available in the thermography field. We have 2 certified (Certified Clinical International Academy of Clinical Thermographer – IACT) thermographers, Emily Sata Kal Millspaugh and Dr. Emily Maiella, ND, who will be reviewing your health history form and performing the assessment. A report will then be generated for you after your appointment (it may take 1-2 weeks), by an independent board certified radiologist (with 30 years experience reading thermographs). The results of your thermal imaging is based on a researched established normative database and standardized reading protocols. The interpretation of the images are based on: Accurate quantitative temperature readings, temperature and thermal pattern asymmetries, vascular patterns, thermodynamic challenge responses and correlations with your clinical history data,
Non-Invasive Treatment Monitoring. There is no radiation, no intravenous access and no contact with the body. Thermography is 100% safe and painless.
Thermography is recognized as a valuable diagnostic tool by the AMA Council on Scientific Affairs (1987), Congress of Neurosurgeons (1988) and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (1990). It’s been touted over the internet as being the most sensitive breast cancer screening tool, and even the best tool for detecting cancer the earliest. While there are some studies that document these claims, thermography has now gained its position in the medical establishment as the best tool for adjunctive screening for breast cancer. It’s a booster screening tool. It is part of your annual breast health risk assessment, which can be added to your recommended mammography, clinical breast exam, self breast exams and hormone testing. We strive to offer comprehensive breast health risk assessments, and by adding thermography, you’ve added an important layer of information to your assessment.
Breast health Risk Assessments: Infrared imaging may detect cancer and abnormal tissue activity early, and in some cases, even earlier than mammography. This is because thermography detects the subtle physiologic conditions which support tumor development and growth (neo-angiogenesis, hypervascularity, and hyperthermia). This may help to detect cancer before it forms a sizable mass. Before it has a chance to spread. Most breast tumors take 8-10 years to grow to the size of a dime (1cm) , which is the smallest average size detectable by mammography. More aggressive and fast moving cancers have more blood vessels (neo-angiogenesis) and more heat (hyperthermia). This may be identified on thermography, because that is what thermography does best. It looks at the physiology and function of the breasts and other tissues. Studies show that cancer aggressiveness has more to do with cell biology and physiology rather than the size of the tumor. Mammography is best at detecting structural changes. That’s why they are an excellent pair.
- When/if infrared imaging shows an abnormality, you are now more informed to make decisions regarding appropriate follow up imaging and early treatment options. By having serial images taken, thermography can then be used to monitor the effectiveness of your chosen intervention. This level of early warning may make treatment as simple as lifestyle changes.
- Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among women aged 40-55. There are no screening tests for women under 40, while 15% of cancers occur in this group!
- Fast growing tumors can also appear between mammograms. Using thermography between your routine mammography offers another step towards early detection.
- Thermography offers screening for people who are not candidates for mammograms.
- Infrared imaging is not affected by age, breast size, tissue density, implants, pregnancy or nursing.
- Infrared imaging can be performed more frequently than other procedures to monitor high risk women more closely. This can be done without the health risks associated with other imaging procedures.
Breast Thermography can be used for:
- People over 20 looking to assess their risk for developing breast cancer, or for people who are not candidates for mammography.
- People looking for further evaluation of a lump, questionable mammogram finding, or other physical change in the breast.
- Cancer survivors monitoring for possible recurrence.
Does Thermography replace Mammography?
Absolutely not! However, do mammograms replace thermography? The answer to this is also a resounding no; the two tests complement each other. The consensus among health care experts is that no one procedure or method of imaging is solely adequate for breast cancer screening. The false negative and positive rates for currently used examination tests (including thermography) are too high for any one procedures to be used alone. However, thermography may pick up thermal markers that indicate the risk of cancers not detected by other tests. An abnormal infrared image is also the single most important marker of high risk for developing breast cancer in the future. It is thermograpy’s unique ability to monitor the abnormal temperature (physiological) and blood vessel changes produced by pathological breast tissue that allows for extremely early detection. Since it has been determined that 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer, we should use every means possible to detect these tumors when there is the greatest chance for survival. Adding these tests together significantly increases the chance for early detection.
Keep in mind that no one test or imaging technology can provide a warning for 100% of all cases. As such, all tests and imaging technologies are adjunctive. As an example, no doctor would tell a person that all they need is a mammogram and that they does not need to come in for their yearly physical breast exam. It is known that a certain number of breast cancers will be detected on a physical exam of the breasts and not detected on a mammogram. As such, a mammogram is also adjunctive – it must be used along with a yearly physical exam of the breast.
Another example of this “adjunctive” principle is the all too common experience of people having their yearly physical breast exam followed by their mammogram and then having to have a follow-up ultrasound to check on something seen on the mammogram. Now we are up to three “adjunctive” exams before a person is told that everything looks fine. Now in some cases, if something needs to be watched on the mammogram and/or ultrasound, a person might need to be called back in 6 months for another mammogram. Thermography might be the added technology that calls attention to something that needs a closer look.
It should be understood that all of these imaging technologies (thermography included) cannot tell you if you have breast cancer. They only provide a certain amount of suspicion based on what the individual technologies “see”. Only a biopsy can tell you if you have breast cancer.
Thermography provides additional data that enables patients and doctors to:
- Visualize the physiologic component of pain, injury, illness, or disease
- Prove the existence of an abnormality
- Provide an early warning / detection of disease
- Helps patients with informed decision, regarding the need for further evaluations
- Improves diagnostic accuracy and helps direct patients towards additional imaging or treatments options
- Obtain visual verification of the effectiveness of treatment with imaging before, during, and after treatment
What is a typical Thermography session like?
Imaging takes place in a climate controlled room. Once in the imaging room, you will be instructed to wear a gown so that the surface of the skin can be exposed for imaging. Both of our technicians are female. You are then positioned in front of a specialized medical infrared imaging camera while the images are taken. The images are then computer processed and analyzed by a Board Certified Clinical Thermologist and an Independent Radiologist with over 30 years of experience.
How is Medical Thermography different?
- X-Ray, MRI, CT, ultrasound, and mammograms look at structural anatomy, while thermograms look at physiology and function.
- Both types of imaging technologies provide important information, but neither can replace the other. Structural and functional imaging technologies complement each other.
When and how often should you receive Thermography?
Age 20: initial baseline thermogram Age 20-29: thermogram every 3 years. Age 30 and over: annually
- Breast only: $225
- Head, Neck, Dental: $125
- Upper Body: (head, neck, breast, arms, hands and full spine): $365
- Upper Body (without breast): $265
- Lower Body (abdomen, buttocks, low back, thighs, legs, feet and gait): $180
- Full Body (including breasts): $475.00
- Full Body (Excluding breasts): $425
Here are the three forms that will need for your visit: Please be aware that there are guidelines that need to be followed 1-3 days before your appointment, so please read the intake and consent form as soon as possible. Please bring in any prior imaging (of any kind ), as this information aids the radiologist.
General Consent and Pre-Treatment Guidelines
Full Body Intake and Consent
Breast Health Intake and Consent
If you are interested in learning EVEN MORE about thermography, here is a link to a website that has complied all of the research studies.