Breast Thermography

If you ask people if they heard about breast thermography, 9 out of 10 will say, “No,” they never did. In a way, it is surprising, since breast thermography has been around for the last 50 years. So how come so few people heard about it?  The reason is simple, yet complicated. Breast thermography was introduced to the United States about 50 years ago with very rudimental type equipment. But the benefits of this modality was no compression and no radiation; the staples of breast mammography. Which is still today the standard of, the practice of medicine. So, what is breast thermography?

Breast thermography is a modality that utilizes the infrared camera, which is specifically adapted to the human infrared frequency which is 9.3 micron. With the aid of this camera, the physician captures the emission of infrared from the breast. And then via a computerized program, distinguishes the temperature differences between right and left nipple, right and left areola and any other places within the breast.  What we’re looking for is really a symmetry of thermal emission from the breast. For instance, the delta chi – which means the difference between right and left of nipples should be below a one-degree centigrade. The differences between right and left areola – in parenthesis – “the area around the nipple.” Close parenthesis. Should be less than 1.5 degrees centigrade. And the difference in any other area of the breast corresponding to the contralateral breast, should be less than 2 degrees differential.  The question that most patient ask me is – if this modality has been in use for the last 50 years, mainly in Europe, how come no– How come they’re not– I’m sorry. How come there are so few doctors who are using this modality? This is an excellent questions, considering the fact that breast thermography was actually accepted by the FDA as a surveying modality for breast cancer back in 1982.  Obviously, the prevailing modality that is being used by medicine today is mammography, then ultrasound and MRI. Quite a few studies over the last 15 years have shown the inefficacy of breast mammography. And increasingly in the holistic literature, you can read that each mammographic examination increases your chance of getting breast cancer by 1 to 2% per each study.  Not only that, about 10 years ago a study was published in The Journal of Radiology. That showed that combination of breast thermography with mammography results, actually reduces the need for breast biopsies.

Every year in the United States, 1.6 million biopsies are being performed. 80% of them are negative. That means that 8 out 10 women should not have had a biopsy performed. When you take a minute to think about these statistics, it is really mind boggling why the use of thermography is so limited.  The main argument that conventional medicine is using to justify mammography, is the fact that mammography is able to identify breast calcification, whereas ultrasound does not. Even though MRI can at times still identify anatomical changes that can be related to calcification.  The “problem” with calcification is the following. The large majority of calcification are totally benign. Yet most radiologists would not dare call them normal. The usual report would read, “Calcifications are noted, most likely benign. BUT,” let’s put but in big letters. Biopsy should not be– Oh, a biopsy should be considered.  This is one of the main reasons why so many biopsies are being performed and the reason that 80% of them are negative. So the question is – why are we at that state of affairs? The main reason is malpractice. If you think about it for a second, no doctors have been sued ever for performing an unnecessary biopsy. In fact, women are just so delighted to hear a negative– Negative results for a biopsy.  And nobody actually stops and questions, “Hey, did I ever actually need this biopsy to be performed?” Yet, on the other hand – many physicians have been sued for not suggesting mammography. Thereby when you read any radiological report – in my humble opinion, it is meant to CYA – “cover your ass” type report.  It is very easy for conventional medicine to put fear in patient’s hearts. And unfortunately, this is a major problem – in my opinion, with the way that conventional medicine addresses medicine today. Instead of educating patients, giving the resources to read about their condition – convention medicine is just testing and testing and doing procedure over procedure.  And even then they say – well, but maybe they don’t realize that the fear that they instill in patients is so damaging and so destructive. Because stress is one of the major contributors to cancer and chronic disease.

Other studies were published in the last 15 years. One of them is a Canadian study. One of them is European study that showed that mammography does not increase patient’s life expectancy as far as breast cancer is concerned. However, the recommendation for breast mammography by conventional medicine is nothing short of a further religious belief.  So, what are the benefits of breast thermography? Breast thermography allows the doctor to actually see what kind of risk factor any given patient has. And then actually advise the patient to use a preventative protocol to reduce the risk, and therefore prevent the disease.  Yes! Breast cancer – like any other cancer, can be prevented, utilizing the right lifestyle, having the right hormone levels, the right digestion, the right emotional state, detoxification, etc.

Breast thermography shows physiological changes that are dependent on the temperature of the breast. These changes occur years before any anatomical changes are evident, and can be picked up by ultrasound and/or an MRI. Therefore – in my opinion, breast thermography is the best preventative tool to avoid cancer.  Breast ultrasound – in my opinion, is an integral part of this examination. Because the ultrasound examination looks at the breast’s anatomical structure. Together with breast thermography, we are getting a physiological window and anatomical window into the state of the breast currently.   We need to realize that not all breast thermographies are the same. It depends who is performing it, what their qualifications, who interpret the study. And most importantly, what kind of recommendations are being made as a result of the test report?  The test needs to be done in a certain way. It has to be done in a temperature controlled room. Between 68 to 73 degrees Fahrenheit. A cold challenge test should be performed as part of this examination. Which utilizes putting the patient’s hands in water of 60 degrees for about a minute and/or allow them to hold an ice pack for about a minute.  This creates a fight or flight response, which causes the sympathetic nervous system to get into gear and shunt or switch the blood supply from the breast to the brain and muscles. As a result, when we do the second batch of images, they will show a slight decrease in breast temperature. This is a good physiological response of a healthy breast.  At times, especially when cancer is considered – the temperature would not go down. And sometimes actually we see a paradoxical increase as part sort of the 15:26 the breast.

So to summarize, a breast thermography – in my opinion, is the best way to prevent cancer because we have a window of opportunity to see what kind of risk factors we have. And to be diligent and aggressive in implementing the prevention protocol that I give to my patients.  The whole idea is to actually get the thermographic image into a normal pattern. And therefore, avoid breast cancer altogether. The other benefits of the modality are obviously no pain due to compression and no radiation.  For more information, you can call my office. And/or look at mercola.com for further articles regarding mammography and breast thermography.