About 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer at some point in her lifetime. In fact, some estimates are that 255,180 new cases of invasive breast cancer – and an additional 63,410 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer – will be diagnosed across the nation in 2017 alone. With these horrible statistics, the need for early breast cancer detection and treatment is more important than ever – making thermography, also known as digital infrared thermal imaging, such a valuable (safe) tool for early detection of health issues.
Thermography uses an infrared scanning device designed to assess the body’s surface temperature, which is converted to a digitized image that can show heat patterns. A certified physician then analyzes the amount of heat and the symmetry of the heat patterns in order to assess underlying physical condition – including the presence of inflammation or infection.
While a healthy body presents a thermally symmetrical image, an image with anomalies can indicate disease. For example, tumors produce angiogenesis – the creation of new blood vessels to nourish the tumor. These cause increased blood flow to the area, creating more heat, which thermal imaging registers as a “hot spot.”
Proponents say that thermography can detect early signs of breast cancer – up to 10 years before standard medical testing procedures. In truth, a well-trained specialist can detect irregular patterns in the breast – even before the formation of a lump.
While conventional tests such as CT scans, ultrasound, MRIs and X-rays analyze the physical structures of your body, thermography measures metabolic processes. By visualizing changes and variations in heat, thermography can provide a visual guide to areas of inflammation, infection and pain.
Moreover – thermal imaging, which can be performed in about 15 minutes (sometimes more time is needed) – is safe, non-invasive, painless, and accurate. Unlike mammograms, which can actually increase the risk of breast cancer by bombarding patients with high levels of radiation, thermography emits no radiation.
And, it isn’t just breast cancer that thermography is capable of identifying. The technique can also indicate the threat or presence of gum disease, TMJ, dental abscesses, digestive disorders, fibromyalgia, arthritis, heart disease, musculoskeletal injury, and vascular and neurological dysfunction.
The upshot: men and women alike can benefit from this valuable proactive tool for maintaining health.