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THE ONTARIO
COMMUNITIES OF
GEORGIAN BAY
AND SIMCOE,
INCLUDING
OWEN SOUND,
MEAFORD,
THORNBURY,
COLLINGWOOD
AND BARRIE.

What is Thermography?

Thermography measures the infrared radiation (heat) which is constantly radiating (emitting) away from the surface of the human skin. Skin as an organ breathes, exchanges gases with the environment, cools us as well as keeps us warm by letting heat out or keeping it in by controlling the amount of circulation, or blood flow, in the skin. This automatic regulation is done without conscious thought and is controlled by the autonomic nervous system via the sympathetics. The whole process is called thermoregulation.

The procedure is based on the principle that chemical and blood vessel activity in both pre-cancerous tissue and the area surrounding a developing breast cancer is almost always higher than in the normal breast. Since pre-cancerous and cancerous masses are highly metabolic tissues, they need an abundant supply of nutrients to maintain their growth. In order to do this they increase circulation to their cells by sending out chemicals to keep existing blood vessels open, recruit dormant vessels, and create new ones (neo-angiogenesis). This process results in an increase in regional surface temperatures of the breast.

Abnormal thermographic scans of the breast clearly demonstrate abnormal areas of heat. This gives the clinician an alert that something might be wrong with physiology of the breast. It could be an infection, inflammatory disease, trauma or cancer.
Thermography uses no painful breast compression, no radiation and is non-invasive. It is an ideal tool for mass screening not only for women over 40, but younger women as well. In our clinic, we have found breast pathologies in women as young as 18 utilizing thermal imaging equipment. To deny the efficacy and of thermal imaging of the breast as an adjunctive diagnostic procedure in the overall management of the patient is a grave error.

The procedure is both comfortable and safe using no radiation or compression. By carefully examining changes in the temperature and blood vessels of the breasts, signs of possible cancer or pre-cancerous cell growth may be detected up to 10 years prior to being discovered using any other procedure. This provides for the earliest possible detection of cancer. Because of breast thermography's extreme sensitivity, these temperature variations and vascular changes may be among the earliest signs of breast cancer and/or a pre-cancerous state of the breast.
Breast thermography has been researched for over 30 years, and over 800 peer-reviewed breast thermography studies exist in the index-medicus. In this data base well over 250,000 women have been included as study participants. Some of these studies have followed patients up to 12 years. Breast thermography has an average sensitivity and specificity of 90%
.
Studies show that:

  • An abnormal infrared image is the single-most important marker of high risk for developing breast cancer.

  • A persistent abnormal thermogram carries with it a 22 times higher risk of future breast cancer.

  • When thermography is added to a woman's regular breast health checkup, a 61% increase in survival rate has been realized.

  • Finally, when used as part of a multimodal approach (clinical examination + mammography + thermography), 95% of early-stage cancers will be detected.

 

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