What is Thermography
Thermography is a type of thermal imaging that uses a special infrared camera to capture the temperature of the skin. This technique is used as a non-invasive procedure to screen for breast cancer in women. Unlike a mammogram, thermography requires no contact with the body, and uses infrared thermal imaging avoid radiation.
How it works:
Cancer cells are different than regular cells because they grow and multiply at a much faster rate. This growth requires more blood flow and a higher rate of metabolism through the tumor meaning it produces more heat. While we may not be able to distinguish the temperature difference by touch, the infrared camera used in a thermography exam is able to pick up on the differences in skin temperature between regular cells and potential cancer cells.
Thermography is a great tool for early detection because "thermograms view a larger area (all the way up parallel to and under the arm pit) which is one of the reasons why they have a better detection rate"(1). Additionally, because thermograms detect the growth of new blood cells, they detect cancerous conditions in the breast up to 8 years before a mammogram can detect a tumor(1).
- No radiation
- No contact with body
- F.D.A registered
During your initial exam, you will briefly go over your medical history before partially disrobing and put on a paper gown for the actual screening to be performed. After capturing the necessary images, the scans are sent to a medical doctor who is a board certified thermologist. After your first exam, you will have another exam 3 months later to help establish a sound baseline. Once your baseline is established, it is recommended that you go for a yearly thermogram to monitor any changes.
While thermography can benefit anyone, it is especially beneficial for women under 50 who are concerned about their breast health. While mammograms are still an option for anyone under 50, studies have indicated that the accuracy of mammograms in women under 50 drop 60% because of the density of their breasts. Please remember, just like mammograms, thermography isn't a perfect tool and can miss tumors that are non-growing and/or fully encapsulated.
While thermography has been around since the 1980's and is viewed as an effective preventative procedure, it is still not covered by insurance. In most cases though, you are able to use an HSA card to pay for the procedure.
If you are interested in setting up a thermography appointment or learning more about the process, we highly recommend reaching out to Dee DeNoia, owner of X to Rays Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging. She offers appointment times once a month at Avena as well as several other locations.
(1) X to Rays
If you want to understand more about breast health and the difference between Thermography and Mammograms, Wellness Mama has a fantastic blog looking at the pros and cons of each and the differences between them. You can find the blog by following this link here!
If you are looking to have a Thermogram or want to talk to a certified Thermographer, Dee DeNoia from X to Rays Digital Thermal Imaging can be reached at: 860-389-0710. She holds thermography sessions at Avena one Friday a month by appointment only. Please reach out to her if you would like to book an appointment.