Mammography vs Thermography For Breast Cancer Screening and Early Detection

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in the United States. Even though it can occur in both, men and women, it is

According to the Mayo Clinic, factors associated with an increased risk of breast cancer include:

  • Being female. Women are much more likely than men are to develop breast cancer.
  • Increasing age. Your risk of breast cancer increases as you age.
  • A personal history of breast conditions. If you’ve had a breast biopsy that found lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) or atypical hyperplasia of the breast, you have an increased risk of breast cancer.
  • A personal history of breast cancer. If you’ve had breast cancer in one breast, you have an increased risk of developing cancer in the other breast.
  • A family history of breast cancer. If your mother, sister or daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer, particularly at a young age, your risk of breast cancer is increased. Still, the majority of people diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease.
  • Inherited genes that increase cancer risk. Certain gene mutations that increase the risk of breast cancer can be passed from parents to children. The most well-known gene mutations are referred to as BRCA1 and BRCA2. These genes can greatly increase your risk of breast cancer and other cancers, but they don’t make cancer inevitable.
  • Radiation exposure. If you received radiation treatments to your chest as a child or young adult, your risk of breast cancer is increased.
  • Obesity. Being obese increases your risk of breast cancer.
  • Beginning your period at a younger age. Beginning your period before age 12 increases your risk of breast cancer.
  • Beginning menopause at an older age. If you began menopause at an older age, you’re more likely to develop breast cancer.
  • Having your first child at an older age. Women who give birth to their first child after age 30 may have an increased risk of breast cancer.
  • Having never been pregnant. Women who have never been pregnant have a greater risk of breast cancer than do women who have had one or more pregnancies.
  • Postmenopausal hormone therapy. Women who take hormone therapy medications that combine estrogen and progesterone to treat the signs and symptoms of menopause have an increased risk of breast cancer. The risk of breast cancer decreases when women stop taking these medications.
  • Drinking alcohol. Drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer.

Screening is recommended from an earlier age if you have a positive family history for breast cancer, but you need to choose a safe method. These are the conventional breast cancer screening methods:

  • Physical examination: This involves manual palpation of the breast and armpits, deeply in a clockwise manner, and can be done once a month, a few days after the end of the period. In the case of a lump, your doctor should check it.
  • Ultrasound: It examines the anatomical contour of breast tissue and blood vessels, and detects any lesions, using ultrasonic waves. In case your doctor confirms a lump in your breasts or axilla, you might need to repeat the ultrasound once more.
  • Mammography: A mammogram examines the detailed structure of breast tissues, and is usually recommended to women of older age groups.
  • Biopsy: This is an invasive modality of diagnosis which provides definitive results.

Mammography is the most commonly used method for screening breast cancer. However, The Lancet Oncology published a study which revealed for the first time that women who received the most mammography breast screenings had a higher cumulative incidence of invasive breast cancer over the following six years compared to the control group who received far fewer screenings.

This method actually uses a high dose of ionizing radiation, which can cause mutations that can eventually lead to breast cancer. One mammogram can expose you to the same radiation as 1,000 chest X-rays!

A victim of breast cancer herself, Dr. Veronique Desaulniers, founder of Breast Cancer, and a Doctor of Chiropractic, decided to help women all over the world and teach them to heal their body, soul, and mind.

Famously known as Dr. V, she claims:

“Well, let’s start with mammograms. Again, by the time they see a lump on a mammogram, it has taken five to eight years to develop. And if a woman follows the 10-year protocol of getting a mammogram every year or every six months, she is getting as much radiation as a woman had at Hiroshima; the atomic bomb, if she stood a mile away from the epicenter. She is getting over 5 rads of radiation in a mammogram if she follows the traditional methods of mammography.

So mammograms cause a lot of problems – the compression, the radiation. Studies have shown that they can increase your risk of cancer. And the new study that came out in Canada, it was a 25-year study where they found that mammograms did not decrease breast mortality rate at all. In fact, they were just as effective as a self-breast exam that women do.

So if we put mammograms aside and we look at the technology with thermography, which has been around for years and can detect physiological changes at a very early stage, wouldn’t you rather know that there is possibly some changes going on in your breast or in your abdomen five to eight years before you have a diagnosis? And with thermography, there is no pain, there is no compression, there is no radiation. It is just a beautiful tool to have in your pocket.”

Thermography, also known as Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging (DITI), uses ultra-sensitive, high-resolution digital infrared rays (IR) cameras in order to mark the heat areas of the body.

Namely, each body cell releases a small amount of metabolic heat that elevates the temperature in the case of an abnormal condition. The heat is a result of the inflammatory processes caused by breast cancer, and the scanner creates a temperature map of the body that can illustrate the greater heat-producing areas clearly.

In the earliest stages of the disease, multiplying cancer cells are highly metabolic and need an abundant supply of nutrients to maintain or speed up their growth, so they increase circulation to the mutilated cells by keeping the blood vessels open, they also activate inactive blood vessels and create new ones.

In this way, the doctor can trace the abnormal cellular processes and evaluate the future course of the disease. Moreover, the thermographic camera can detect abnormal activities 5-8 years earlier than mammography.

Inflammation also releases heat that can be detected by the thermogram, so thermography is often used to detect not only inflammation and cancer growth, but also other changes in the body, like allergies, flu, trauma, infections, and fever.

Thermography vs. mammography for breast cancer

Latest research favors thermography for breast cancer screening, as the early detection options it offers increase the chances of treating it successfully.

A study that involved 1,245 women who underwent a physical examination, biopsy, fine needle aspiration, mammography, and ultrasonic investigation, showed that thermography could detect metabolic changes in the lesion cells that had the potential to grow rapidly, in a more efficient way than biopsy.

Additionally, studies have shown that cell patterns exhibited on a thermogram are nearly 80 percent accurate. It also easily peaks through the anatomical abnormalities of denser breast tissues, especially in premenopausal women.

On the other hand, one study evaluated the efficacies of the three most-adopted breast cancer screening modalities: clinical examination, mammography, and thermography, and found that the certainty of the thermography for larger lesions and for the ones with lymph node metastasis was significantly lower in comparison to that of mammography.

Yet, the role of mammography is often questioned due to the high chances of “false positive results”.

Here are the advantages of thermography screening:

  1. It is painless and radiation-free

Despite the high level of radiation, it exposes you to, the pressure of a mammogram machine is equivalent to putting a 50-pound weight to compress the breasts, which can be painful and traumatic. On the other hand,  thermography is non-invasive painless and does not emit any harmful radiation.

  1. Detect cell changes outside of the breast region

There are many cases in which precancerous cells can start forming from the armpit area due to the use of underarm deodorants, and the concentration of lymph nodes, and it can be used for screening outside of the breast area as well.

  1. It is safe

Thermography has no side-effects, so it is safe for pregnant and nursing women a well.

  1. Suitable for younger women

It is suitable for premenopausal women, as their breasts are denser, and it can differentiate fibrocystic tissue, scars or breast implants from that of cancerous cells.

  1. Excellent as an additional test

Regardless of the method you choose, it is always advisable to do thermography, since it is highly accurate and has potent early detection abilities.

If you want to find out if thermography is available in your country, you should do a little research. Use the keywords “thermography”, “thermal imaging” or “thermography breast screening”.

The truth is that most countries prefer conventional methods like mammography, but it doesn’t mean that there is no alternative medicine clinic that offers these services.