Breast thermography is being touted as a first-line breast health screening procedure. This medical technique is used extensively in other countries including Japan , France and Sweden. It is relatively new to North America.
Thermography is reported to detect functional changes in the breast tissue before tumors form or before they are large enough to be detected by other secondary prevention techniques like a clinical breast exam or mammography.
Thermography involves the use of highly advanced infrared cameras that detect a change in body temperature. It is believed that as solid mass cancer tumors grow the circulation of the area changes. The change can be recorded by the warmth or coolness of the area.
Two scans are taken. One without altering body temperature and one following the hands being immersed in cold water. A thermography reader then analyzes the before and after scans.
Unlike Mammograms, no radiation, compression or contact of any kind is used. Women of all ages with any breast tissue and of any life stage can have thermography.
According to the U.S. Today Health Library, Unfortunately, this technique has not proved accurate. There are too many false positives and false negatives. Not all cancers give off heat, and of those that do, some are too deep, or located under wedges of fat, and the heat does not register on the device.
Some European physicians believe that it can define the aggressiveness of a cancer known to exist. The more aggressive a cancer is, the more heat it gives off.
TBS Editor's Note: To me thermography seems worth keeping an eye on. And who knows if the detractors of the technology have their fingers in some other money making pie.