Thermography Mammography Difference

In today’s blog post we will explore the differences between mammography and thermography or thermal imaging when detecting and monitoring the health of the breast. This topic of thermal imaging is very important to women of all ages because thermal imaging can provide early detection and having the right knowledge can change the outcome of breast cancer diagnosis. We want to equip you with the tools you need to make educated and informed decisions about thermal imaging. According to an estimated 230, 480 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed or 1 in 8 women that will be affected by breast cancer.  Thermography and thermal imaging can help detect changes to the breast tissue.

Thermography or thermal imaging is a process used to measure heat coming from the body to locate any abnormal functioning in the body. Thermal imaging captures temperature distribution on a surface without contacting the object. Thermal imaging is a non-invasive procedure that takes anywhere from 15 – 25 minutes depending on the type of scan. Thermography is a modern technology using thermal imaging and a high resolution digital infrared camera or thermal camera to track heat patterns in the breast and monitor changes.

More specifically, thermography and thermal imaging provides a great opportunity to detect signs of breast cancer earlier than a mammogram. It is important to understand that chemical and blood vessel  activity in pre-cancerous tissue and the area surrounding a developing breast cancer is almost always higher than in the normal breast.  Since pre-cancerous and cancerous masses are highly metabolic tissues, they need an abundant supply of nutrients to maintain their growth. In order to do this they increase circulation to their cells by sending out chemicals to keep existing blood vessels open, recruit dormant vessels and create new ones. This process results in an increase in regional surface temperatures of the breast which the infrared camera in the thermal imaging can detect. Because of this, regular follow-up themography scans or thermal imaging using an infrared camera can monitor any changes. There are a few things to keep in mind with thermography or thermal imaging. Thermal imaging using an infrared camera will not pinpoint the location of the tumor however when thermal imaging is used in conjunction with self and clinical exams and mammography the chances of early detection are close to 95%.!

Mammograms, on the other hand are far different then thermal imaging and are an anatomical imaging procedure done with lower energy x-rays than a normal chest x-ray. It does require that the breast be exposed to radiation during the procedure. In November 2009, it was deemed that women do not need to start receiving mammograms until age 50 and should be scheduled every other year. Keep in mind that premenopausal women have breast that can be more susceptible to radiation damage done by x-rays. –Dr. Bruce West Vol 27 Issue 3. Mammograms have the ability to detect benign and malignant tumors and this raises the risk of over-diagnosis, when it is possible that there may be no immediate life threat.

Some options you may consider if you are at a higher risk include screenings for estrogen and tumor marker testing. High levels of estrogen can raise your chances of developing breast cancer. If you have high levels of estrogen present you may try increasing your consumption of cruciferous vegetables to help the body detoxify the excess estrogen. Great vegetables to include in your diet are kale, broccoli and brussel sprouts to help jump start this process. Also, you may request your doctor to have a blood test done called tumor marker testing to screen for cancer. Dr. Bruce West, Health Alert, Vol 27. Iss 3.

Holistic Health Center, P.C. in Alpharetta offers Thermography and thermal imaging for our patients. Call us today at 678-366-0072 to schedule your thermal imaging scan. Breast Health is of great importance so take charge today!

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