Breast Screening Q&A
Why is thermal imaging useful for
Thermal Imaging (DITI) offers the opportunity of earlier detection of breast disease than has
been possible with breast self-examination,
physician palpation or mammography alone.
has her own thermal pattern (normally symmetric)
that is accurate and static throughout her
lifetime. Any changes to her normal “thermal
fingerprint” caused by early cell changes
(pathology) will become increasingly apparent.
Monitoring changes over periods of time with DITI is
the most efficient means of identifying subjects who
require further investigation.
DITI is a
non-invasive test. There is no contact
with the body of any kind, no radiation
and the procedure is painless. The scanning
system merely detects and records the infrared
radiation that is emitting from the patient’s body.
sophisticated infrared technology and innovative
computer software, thermal imaging technicians
simply capture a digitized image of the breast in
the form of an infrared thermogram, or heat picture.
How accurate is thermal imaging for
the detection of breast cancer?
researchers recently confirmed that infrared imaging
of breast cancers could detect minute temperature
variations related to blood flow and demonstrate
abnormal patterns associated with the progression of
tumors. These images, or thermograms of the breast,
were positive for 83% of breast cancers compared to
61% for clinical breast examination alone and 84%
for mammography. The 84% sensitivity rate of
mammography alone was increased to 95% when infrared
imaging was added.
a thermal scan different than a mammogram or
mammography and ultrasound, Digital Infrared
Thermal Imaging (DITI) is a test of physiology.
It detects and records the infrared heat radiating
from the surface of the body. It can help in early
detection and monitoring of abnormal physiology and
the establishment of risk factors for the
development or existence of cancer.
Mammography and ultrasound are tests of
They look at structure. When a tumor has grown to a
size that is large enough and dense enough to block
an x-ray beam (mammography) or sound wave
(ultrasound), it produces an image that can be
detected by a trained radiologist.
mammogram, ultrasound, nor DITI can diagnose cancer.
Only a biopsy can diagnose cancer. But, when DITI,
mammograms, ultrasounds, and clinical exams are used
together, the best possible evaluation of breast
health can be made.
thermal imaging a replacement for mammograms or
some women use thermal imaging instead of
mammography for breast screening, others use
thermal imaging in addition to mammography and/or
ultrasound. We believe that (DITI) should be viewed
as a complementary, not competitive, tool to
mammography and ultrasound. DITI has the ability
to identify patients at the highest level of risk
and actually increase the effective usage of
mammograms and ultrasounds. Research confirms that
DITI, when used with mammography, can improve the
sensitivity of breast cancer detection.
any harmful radiation in a thermal scan?
detects and records the infrared heat radiating from
the surface of the body. There is no contact with
the body nor harmful radiation.
hurt to have a scan taken?
No. There is no
contact with the body nor painful breast
should have a thermal scan?
Any adult can
have a thermal breast scan. This test is designed
to improve chances for detecting fast growing tumors
in the intervals between mammographic screenings or
when mammography is not indicated by screening
guidelines for women under 50.
especially appropriate for younger women under 50
years whose denser breast tissue makes it more
difficult for mammography to pick up suspicious
lesions. This test can provide a ‘clinical marker’
to the doctor or mammographer, indicating that a
specific area of the breast needs closer
cancers tend to grow significantly faster in younger
women (under 50 years). The average tumor doubling
time for women under 50 is 80 days compared to 157
days for women
between 50 – 70 years. Secondly, the faster a
malignant tumor grows, the more infrared radiation
Therefore, for younger women in particular, results
from DITI screening can lead to earlier detection.
How often should
I have a thermal scan?
Once a reliable baseline
has been established, which normally requires two
studies 3-months apart, you should have an on-going
annual comparative study to detect any suspicious functional
(physiological) changes, warranting further investigation.
Depending on your personal history and risk for breast
disease, your doctor can advise how often you should have a
thermal scan repeated.
Have clinical tests been done on thermal
Yes! Over 800
peer-reviewed studies on breast thermography exist in the
index medicus literature. In this database, well over
300,000 women have been included as study participants. The
numbers of participants in many studies are very large
(10,000, 37,000, 60,000, 85,000, etc.) Some of these
studies have followed patients for up to 12 years.
These clinical trials
have demonstrated that breast thermography:
first signs of a cancer up to 10 years before any
other procedure can detect it
augments the long-term survival rates of its
recipients by as much as 61%
when used as
part of a multimodal approach (clinical examination
+ mammography, if needed), will detect 95% of
early stage cancers.
If breast thermography is so great, why isn’t
it more readily available and widely used?
We asked the same
question. The answer is a bit tricky and somewhat political
but we’ll try to explain:
was first explored for breast imaging, it was viewed as
competitive to mammograms. It was tested and evaluated to
see if it was safer and more diagnostically accurate than
mammography. These comparisons should not have been made,
as you can not compare tests of physiology and anatomy.
when thermography was tested on younger women, thermographic
abnormalities were detected many times but mammograms did
not detect any tumors. The results were considered “false
positives”. The more patients of younger age screened with
Years later, in re-call studies, a large
percentage of these women had developed breast cancer or
other breast disease, in the exact location of the abnormal
“false-positive” thermogram, thus validating its early
warning role. Thermography’s only “error” was that it was
too accurate too early and the results couldn’t be
corroborated at the time.
false positive, the more suspicion was
placed on thermography.
thermography was being used in sports medicine, dentisty,
podiatry, chiropractic, orthopedics rheumatology, and
neurology in a variety of support or adjunctive diagnostic
roles. It was soon realized that thermography could
clearly, objectively, and easily demonstrate the
physiological component of pain and injury, especially to
the spinal column, due to car accidents, job injuries, and a
host of other “tort” related law suits. Everyone involved
had benefited from these positive test findings, which could
be clearly shown to a jury.
Everyone that is except the defendant
Needless to say,
the insurance industry in the
United States placed an all-out effort to diminish the value
of thermography in courts of law due to high litigation
costs. Eventually, lobbying efforts at the AMA’s House of
Delegates and at Medicare, brought about the removal of
thermographic coverage by most insurance companies and the
greatly reduced utilization of thermography in the United
States. This was most unfortunate for the patients who
could clearly benefit from thermal imaging.