Thermography: A Viable Option to Breast Cancer Screening
May 03, 2012 02:53PM
Breast before and after
It’s been drilled into the minds of women for decades: screening mammograms are the only answer to the early detection of breast cancer, giving women the best chance to beat this dreaded disease. All women are encouraged to endure this procedure, even though there is mounting evidence that screening mammograms have not made much of a difference in the mortality rate of women with breast cancer.
A screening mammogram is simply an x-ray of the breasts, allowing an anatomical view that may indicate any abnormal ‘structures’ in the breasts – such as tumors, cysts and in many women, calcifications, which may indicate a malignant mass. Unfortunately, tumors take many years to become detectable and tumors, cysts and calcifications cannot be fully evaluated with mammography without follow-up testing or a biopsy.
Most women (and men) are not aware of another option for breast cancer screening: DITI or Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging. Using infrared technology, DITI can detect early changes in breast “physiology”’ that may indicate disease development – long before a tumor actually begins to form and grow to a size detectable on a mammogram. DITI , because it looks at the physiology of the breast, can detect abnormal blood flow which can be an indication of pathology. A simple, non-invasive infrared scan – a thermogram -- will map the thermal patterns of the breasts, and comparisons are made over time giving women the earliest opportunity to detect breast cancer.
Detecting pathology with thermal evaluation is not new. The writings of Hippocrates around 480 B.C. noted that mud, when spread over the patient, would dry at different rates and where it would dry the quickest would indicate underlying organ pathology. Centuries later, it was discovered that the skinsurface temperatures over the site of a breast cancer were higher or hotter. Medical DITI’s clinical value is in its high sensitivity to pathology in the vascular, muscular, neural and skeletal systems and, as such, can contribute to a differential diagnosis made by the clinician.
Rita Rimmer, a Certified Clinical Thermographer who operates Health Imaging in Sarasota, noted that women who come to her for breast thermography, rather than just relying on screening mammograms, are independent, research-oriented, and have an innate sense that mammograms are harmful to their bodies and not very effective in detecting active disease. She has been providing thermography since 2000, and is one of the few, but growing number, of thermographers on the west coast of Florida.
Breast thermography can be a proactive approach to breast health. Because breast cancer must utilize blood and the sugar it brings to a malignant tumor, thermography can easily “see” this process and can be a first alert to women of this disease. It can also evaluate risk factors already present that with lifestyle changes can be reversed.
Screening with DITI is recommended for all women – and men (breast cancer in men is rarer but is noted to be on the rise). It is especially valuable for women under 50 whose denser breast tissue makes mammography less effective and the radiation more dangerous. Rimmer encourages women to begin DITI screening as young as 20. She noted that DITI is also valuable for women with breast implants; those women who’ve had mastectomies; and those who avoid any screening because of the discomfort, radiation or mistrust of mammogram results. A thermal scan takes approximately 15-45 minutes depending on which part of the body is being scanned, and it could be the most important few minutes of your life.
Health Imaging is located at 2750 Bahia Vista, #109. Call Rita Rimmer at 941-330-9318 or visit healthythermalimaging.com. Hours are Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm by appointment.