Good to Know
1. Does Thermography Imaging Replace Mammograms?
The short answer is no infrared testing is not a replacement for mammograms. Instead, it is testing to be used in combination with physical examinations and mammograms. This testing has the ability to pick up thermal markers for the risk of cancer and other breast diseases that might be missed by other types of testing. By using infrared testing along with other tests available it can increase the chance of early detection of breast cancer.
2. What Qualifications are needed for Infrared Imaging?
Health care providers that are clinically trained to interoperate thermographic images are MD, DC, and DO who hold credentials as Board Certified Clinical Thermographers. The person doing the infrared imaging is a staff member who is a certified Thermographic Technician.
3. Has there been Studies Conducted on Thermal Imaging?
There currently have been more than 800 peer review studies conducted on thermography used in breast infrared digital testing in the index Medicus Literature. The studies include over 300,000 female participants with the numbers varied for each study and some studies that follow the women for as long as 12 years.
4. Is Thermographic Imaging Safe and Painless?
Infrared imaging is completely safe using no radiation like other testing may subject the person having the testing done. It is also painless since unlike mammograms this testing the imaging is done without a need to have the breast touch the machine.
General Infrared Imaging Questions
1. Why is Thermographic Imaging Useful?
Thermographic imaging is digital infrared imaging has the ability to show a thermal image that can detect issues that another type of testing or physical examination might not. It also is a testing able to detect temperature differences that may be caused by cell changes. The testing results in a thermal digitized image of the breast in an infrared picture.
2. What is the Accuracy of Thermal Imaging in Detecting Breast Cancer?
The infrared images are referred to as thermograms. Recently Canadian researchers confirmed an 83 % positive result with thermograms and 84 % with mammography. Then the percentage for clinical breast examinations had a result of 61 %. The mammogram and infrared imaging combined reached 95 % accuracy for detecting breast cancer.
3. Does Infrared Imaging Replace Mammograms?
Thermal imaging is not a replacement for mammograms, but rather a tool to be used in combination with mammograms, clinical breast examinations, and ultra sounds. Though, it can be used more often than some other forms of testing to follow the progression of breast cancer once diagnosed since it has no radiation associated with the testing.
4. What Makes a Thermographic Imaging Different Than Other Testing?
Thermographic imaging is a digital infrared thermal imaging, which is a testing of physiology. Mammograms and ultrasounds are both anatomy testing. Mammograms are a type of x-ray that will only show cancerous tumors when they have grown large enough to show up in this kind of testing. Ultrasounds produce an image that must then be read by a radiologist. None of these tests can determine a mass or change in breast cells is cancerous, but they can detect the problem. A biopsy will then be done and tested to find out if it is malignant or benign.
5. How Long Will it Take to Get the Results from the Test?
Generally, the report from the infrared imaging test will be mailed in approximately two weeks. Though, if there is a concern the results can be sent much faster, especially if it is prior to a surgical procedure. In order to get the results faster, there will usually be an additional fee.
6. Is Infrared Image Testing Covered by Health Insurance?
It will depend on the individual’s health insurance coverage whether this type of testing is covered since there are some procedures that not all insurance policies cover. Though the cost of the testing is reasonable and can be paid for personally.
Times to have Thermal Image Testing Done
1. Should Thermal Image Testing be Done More than One Time?
Yes, this is a test that should be done more than once with the first establishing a baseline to work from. Then a second infrared test should be done approximately three months later and then have this testing done annually. The two tests can provide the information necessary to compare each test and detect any suspicious changes in the breast tissue. In patients with a high risk of breast cancer, their physician may determine how often thermal image tests should be done.
2. If a Mammogram Result is Questionable Should Infrared Testing be Done?
In a case where a mammogram comes back with questionable or possible positive results, a thermographic image test should be done. This testing can help contribute to the data the physician has to decide the next steps to take if the digital infrared test results show breast cell changes.