Early detection is critical to treating and recovering from breast cancer. Statistics show that about one in eight women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. Each year, tens of thousands of women die from this deadly disease, making it one of the leading causes of death among women. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, however, the survival rate rate of breast cancer when localized and detected early after five years is 100 percent.
There are multiple ways to screen and diagnose breast cancer. Women can perform a self-examination of their breasts to identify potentially cancerous lumps. They can also have an annual mammogram to detect cancerous tumors in their breast tissue. In recent years, though, breast thermography has become a popular technique used for the early detection of breast cancer. So, what is breast thermography exactly, and how does it work?
Overview of Breast Thermography
Breast thermography is a noninvasive procedure that involves the use of thermal cameras to detect cancerous tumors in the breast tissue. The cameras essentially take an array of photos of the woman’s breast, each of which reveals the precise temperature of the respective area’s skin surface. If there’s a tumor present, the skin above it will likely be warmer than the surrounding skin, allowing medical practitioners to identify the presence of a tumor during its early stages.
The idea behind breast thermography is that tumors increase the temperature of the skin. There are more blood vessels in cancerous tissue than healthy tissue, so the temperature of the skin above the tumor increases. Using thermal cameras, medical practitioners can create a heat map of your breasts, looking for physiological temperature changes that could indicate the presence of a tumor.
Breast Thermography Safe and FDA Approved
Some women might be skeptical of breast thermography, simply because they are accustomed to mammograms. However, breast thermography is a safe and effective way to diagnose breast cancer — it’s even been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Even if you’ve never had it performed, you can rest assured knowing that the FDA has thoroughly tested and vetted the procedure, giving breast thermography the green light for use in breast cancer screenings.
Breast Thermography Allows for Early Detection
Mammograms are able to detect breast cancer up to two years before the tumor can belt felt through a self-examination. However, breast thermography is able to detect breast cancer even sooner. Mammograms work by using X-rays to examine the breast tissue for signs of cancerous cells. It’s certainly an effective method for breast cancer screening, but it doesn’t always catch early-stage tumors. Breast thermography, however, is able to detect tumors several years sooner than mammograms.
Breast Thermography Doesn’t Exposure You to Radiation
Many women are surprised to learn that mammograms expose them to radiation. When you get a mammogram, an X-ray will release radiation so that it’s able to create a three-dimensional image of your breast tissue. The amount of radiation to which are you are exposed from a mammogram is minimal — about 0.4 millserverts per session — but breast thermography doesn’t expose you to any amount of radiation. Unlike X-ray machines, the thermal cameras used in breast thermography don’t produce radiation.
Breast Thermography Is Painless
Mammograms are often painful, as it uses a machine to squish the top and bottom of your breast together. While some medical practitioners install soft padding or cushioning on these machines, it can still cause a substantial amount of pain and discomfort. The good news is that breast thermography is completely painless. During a breast thermography, you can kick back while the thermal cameras create a heat map of your breast. It doesn’t expose you to radiation, nor does it cause pain. It’s a safe, effective, painless procedure that can help diagnose breast cancer during the early stages when it’s easiest to treat.
Breast Thermography Can Detect More Than Just Cancer
Although it’s primarily used for breast cancer screenings, breast thermography can detect other medical conditions, including dense breast tissue and fibrocystic tissue. Therefore, it’s worth considering even if you have a low risk of breast cancer.
Combine Breast Thermography With Mammograms
Rather than only using mammograms or breast thermography to screen yourself for breast cancer, why not use both? Because the two procedures are so different, they work synergistically to offer the highest level of detection accuracy possible.
As a woman, you can’t ignore the possibility of breast cancer. Statistics show that roughly 12% of women will develop breast cancer. Those who seek regular screenings, however, are more likely to experience a positive prognosis than those who rarely or ever get screened for breast cancer.
Take a proactive approach towards breast cancer screening by scheduling an appointment for breast thermography. You can contact us today to learn more about our Atlanta Chrio and Wellness’s breast thermography services.Share