The Food and Drug Administration has cleared thermography for several purposes as an adjunctivescreening. One of these is breast cancer screening. It is important to understand that breast thermography is not a stand alone procedure for breast cancer screening.
We make it clear in all of our testing that the FDA stance is a valid one, and one that we have embraced. We believe that the more information in the quest for the early detection we have, the more cases we will find. The November 2012 article in the New England Journal of Medicine brought this fact to light. Mammograms have failed to reduce fatalities in cancer across a population base as a sole method of screening. We hope the medical community will analyze this data and provide a multi modal approach to breast cancer screening. We would like to see research in the area of combining non radiation tests (MRI, Ultrasound, Thermography). It would be simple to incorporated thermography and ultrasound, or thermography and MRI.
None of the case studies within this site should lead any patient to choose thermography as the sole method for screening. There is much work needed to further validate the science.
Breast Thermography testing is a radiation-free state-of- the-art screening procedure that captures heat images of the breast to aid in the early detection of cancer and fibrocystic breast disease. As a tumor grows it develops a blood supply that emits heat that is detected on a modern infrared device as seen below. Thermography can establish overall breast health and is an excellent test for assessing fibrocystic breasts and response to treatment. Thermography works great as a part of a multi-modal approach.
Breast Cancer Found with Breast Thermography Testing
This patient was diagnosed with a 2.4 cm tumor behind the right nipple after breast thermography screening.She had been for several mammograms that had missed this.
According the the www.cancer.gov mammography misses up to 20% of tumors overall, and is ineffective statistically in women with dense breasts. Breast thermography can be used with women with dense breasts and women under 40 years of age.
Importance of Breast Thermography Follow-up
The images at the left were taken July 2013. A 3-month follow-up was recommended. The patient neglected to adhere to the recommendations and the condition significantly worsened over the 5-month period, as can be seen in the image to the right taken in December 2013. There were several factors present that alerted our Board Certified Medical Thermologists that a pathological process may be forming. Thermography exams need to be a routine in annual health screening in all women. One in five mammograms are false negative meaning that 1 in 5 women hold false security that there is no tumor present. Combining thermography with mammography or other forms of screening yield the best results. For those women who elect to forgo mammography due to the radiation, this remains a logical choice for them at a minimum.
A Case Study: Breast Thermography Detects the Metabolism of Breast Cancer
The image to the left shows a very fast growing tumor. The thermal images show the heat associated with the tumor in July 2012. In only a few months the tumor broke the skins surface and by January showed this thermal impression. Notice the leading edge of the tumor cells are extremely hot, and the tissue cools as the tumor necrosis. Cancer cells can divide fast. Do not rely on any one technology for early detection. Mammography is limited in the repeat time of testing due to radiation and the lack of success with dense breasts. Thermography can be performed daily and not have any adverse effects, another good reason to develop a system of mass screening that includes thermography.
On an experimental basis thermography is used to assess the response of breast cancer treatment periodically. Hypothetically if the tumor cools then the tumor metabolism has slowed. This important tool should be added to the toolbox of every breast oncologist. Much more integration of this technology with current standards of care is needed and research must be performed. There are several oncologists utilizing this analysis combined with their more traditional methods. Our interpreters can work with your oncologist to integrate.
Improve Fibrocystic Breasts, Hormone Toxicity, and Breast Health
We are at the cutting edge in technology and have seen some remarkable presentations in the physiology of the body. We are pioneering areas that have never been seen before. One of these areas is in the area of toxicity. We have established a relationship between Hormone Toxicity/ Fibrocystic Breasts and small pockets of inflammation that we describe as “leopard spots”.
More properly these areas are sequestered areas of inflammation due to toxins(irritants) in the form of several possibilities. Through massive deduction of hundreds of thousands of cases we theorize these points are aberrant and only found in pathological patients. We have established this through clinical experience and intense study of specific habits of our large patient base. For example we notice an absence or minimization of these spots in patients who live a toxin free life and adhere to strict diet and lifestyle.
We need a large study of this nature but understanding that studies of this size only are performed for drug companies we will probably never see one. The best we can offer at this point is our experience and observations until we can fund such a study.
Dental Thermography and Systemic Disease
Some dentists have long claimed a relationship between oral bacteria and breast cancer, as well as other systemic diseases. The pictures to the left exemplify how the toxic material and bacteria spread through the lymphatic (immune) system and can enter the breast. In this case the back pressure from the inflammation is forcing the fluid in to makeshift channels. This case example is one of many that show the importance of the whole body relationship. Full body thermography can give valuable information not only for the breast but the whole body through the mapping of skin surface temperatures. These temperature plots can be used by the doctor to analyze trends in temperature in the body.
History of Breast Thermography
Breast thermography was discovered in 1956 in Montreal, Canada by Dr. Robert Lawson who found temperature differences of more than 2 degrees bilaterally correlated to cases of breast cancer in his patients. This news rapidly became popular throughout the world. In the 1960 infrared cameras were patented for the purpose. Other methods included Liquid Crystal Thermography that used contact devices that measures skin temperature. In the 1970’s bras made of thermal material were placed on the breast to analyze these temperature difference in a radiology office. Thermography was FDA cleared as an adjunctive screening procedure for breast cancer in 1982.
Recent advancements in technology have allowed us to perform even more accurate exams. Studies have been performed on thermography when compared against other forms of testing. A 2008 study published in the American Journal of Surgery, performed at New York Presbyterian Hospital Cornell showed a 97% sensitivity in discriminating cancer compared to biopsy. These results showed thermography to accurately identify 97% (58 of 60) of cancers when compared to mammography. Obesity and large breasts were a limiting factor.
A very important area of consideration is the neglected category of women under the age of 40, as well as women with dense breasts who are unable to be screened with mammography and the current standard of care. A push is currently underway to use thermography as a method to cover this gap. Testimony has been heard in public hearings in CT to use thermography for these women. We need public support and funding to insure women are not left out in the fight against breast cancer. There are over 20,000 case of breast cancer in the age group of women from 20-40 each year in the USA. When cancer occurs in a younger woman it is usually a much more aggressive form, and less likely to respond to treatment. There is currently no routine screening test for women under 40. We propose that thermography may fill this void and should be investigated as a viable test for these women.
Other Potential Uses
Medical thermography can be used as a whole body approach to wellness with the understanding that there is no “normal” asymmetrical heat in the body. Thermal cameras can detect heat on the skin surface that may show underlying pathologies. Thermography is an excellent tool that your doctor can use to assess your health. PACT educates doctors to understand your testing and further implement thermography in to their practice. Be sure to have them consult the Professional Academy of Clinical Thermology for more information and training. You do not need a referral to be tested, our locations can take your appointment directly.
Dr. Alexander Sepper, MD, Ph.D OBGYN and Researcher