Thermography, a complement for mammography

Credit: YouTube

Even though I wrote about the risk of using groups of muscles that are not exerted often two weeks ago, I fell victim to a fitness challenge my husband saw on YouTube–100 daily push-ups for a month–motivated to get rid of the “bat wings” that hang from my arms.

As expected, I could barely finish 50, and that by supporting my legs on a yoga ball. To make the long story short, I ended at the acupuncturist office last Thursday with an acute sciatic nerve pain in my right leg.

Waiting in agony to see the doctor, I saw a new poster on the wall. It was the silhouette of a female torso in thermal images which alluded to breast cancer prevention. when the doctor greeted me I asked her about it.

It is called Digital Infrared Imaging or Breast Thermography. The principle of this diagnostic tool is that metabolic activity and vascular circulation in both pre-cancerous tissue and the area surrounding a developing breast cancer is almost always higher than in normal breast tissue.

Because a cancerous tumor needs a constant influx of nutrients to grow, this increases the circulation to its cells by holding open existing blood vessels and creating new ones. As a result, the regional surface temperature of the breast raises.

According to thermography practitioners, the hypersensitivity of the medical infrared camera can detect the variations in those temperatures at the earliest stage of a tumor or ideally, in the pre-cancerous tissue.

Thermography was introduced by Dr. Ray Lawson who published his study “Implications of Surface Temperatures in the Diagnosis of Breast Cancer” in 1956. It is worth to mention that also in this decade, the mammogram we know today was being studied and developed by Dr. Robert Egan.

In time, the mammogram’s efficacy of detection surpassed thermogram’s by large numbers in clinical studies becoming the number one tool for diagnosis around the world.

Nonetheless, mammograms are not entirely accurate yet: approximately 78% of all cases and 83% in women over 50. So, while mammograms, sonograms, and MRI rely on the search for a physical tumor, thermograms can point at incipient tumors or tissues at risk in women under 50.

In the United States, thermography is not approved as a stand-alone screening technique by the FDA. Therefore, a mammogram should always accompany the prevention effort.

Breast cancer is the number one type of cancer for women around the world, in both developed and undeveloped countries. In the U.S. projections are even more frightening. One in eight women will suffer breast cancer at any point of our lives.

So, if combining traditional and alternative medicine can strengthen my options to prevent breast cancer, sign me up! My life and my loved ones are worth the try and much more.

Thank you for reading and sharing.

Xiomara Spadafora

This column was sponsored by Zellner Insurance Agency. Many things in life don’t have insurance. For everything else call Zellner (888) 208-8119

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