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CAN I USE THERMOGRAPHY INSTEAD OF MAMMOGRAPHY?

Many clients who are challenged by the real dangers of radiation and compression associated with mammography, contact us for information on breast thermography and often want to know if Thermal Imaging can take the place of mammograms.

Sunstate Thermal Imaging does not endorse the comments of those who claim that Thermal Imaging actually takes the place of mammography. For many different reasons, all breast screening modalities can play a role. Mammography should never be eliminated from your breast health management plan – and you do have a plan, don’t you?  

Thermal Imaging (Thermography) is an adjunctive tool in the evaluation of overall breast health.
Because Thermal Imaging can predict  the early onset of breast related pathology many years before standard mammography can find a lump(New York Third International Symposium on Detection and Prevention of Cancer data), it does not mean that thermography replaces mammography.  
Because an abnormal thermogram has been scientifically shown to be ten times more significant than a first order family history of breast cancer, it does not mean that thermograms replace mammograms.
Because scientific evidence of breast thermography accuracy in normal subjects and with normal tissue is reasonably accurate, this still does not mean that thermography replaces mammograms.

You can not compare chalk to cheese. Thermography is a test of physiology, and mammography is a test of anatomy. Both tests provide their own unique information and when used jointly and as necessary, a better picture of health or disease can be seen.

Quite understandably, one can sympathise with women who suffer serious damaging pain and the frustrations of not being adequately informed of the significant dangers of low energy, DNA damaging alpha particle radiation being used in mammograms and a degree of false  readings, but you cannot and should not compare or compete one with the other.  They both have a roll to play.

So what is wrong with choosing one modality over the other?

The problem is quite obvious.  Thermography cannot determine the effects of all forms of disease in the breast. The same has been observed  for the mammogram. Disease  behaves differently in our body and these two imaging modalities, Mammogram and Thermogram, measure different aspects of the disease.

A similar situation exists with mammography and ultrasound. Both of these tests are anatomical or structural related studies. Together, they both provide different information about a similar disease process. One does not replace the other.  Thermography however adds a new and significant dimension.

When it comes to your life, common sense is needed.  In a recent FDA study published in the January 2003 issue of the American Journal of Radiology (Parisky, et al) thermal imaging was shown to have a 97% sensitivity for normal breast tissue in patients who had mammograms identifying the breast to have a lump or calcification requiring a biopsy. In this study, the mammogram was performed, the lesion identified as suspicious and then thermography was performed prior to biopsy. The biopsy finding, whether positive or negative, was then compared to both the mammography and the thermography findings.

An argument could be made, that if thermography is performed correctly and interpreted by Board Certified Breast Thermographers to be non suspicious, then a mammogram is not necessary. However, the truth is, that thermography cannot be considered to be 100% accurate and more studies like the Parisky study need to be done to help determine just exactly when a thermogram is not giving the correct information.

If you are a client with a so-called, normal thermogram, this does not mean  that your risk is non existent. Statistics show that Mammography can produce  false readings, and in today’s world most scientists and physicians agree that we need a far better anatomical imaging procedure.  Even so, it is  irresponsible to consider that thermography makes mammography obsolete.

Some scientific research has revealed  that when thermography and mammography are used together on suspicious findings, the yield of accurate diagnosis goes up considerably compared to either procedure being utilized separately.

When it comes to your very own life challenges, exercise extreme caution and ask lot’s of questions. Do your own research first.  In all cases, it’s your body and as such,
it’s your call.