Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Part III: Safe Methods of Breast Screening: Thermography and Sonography (Ultrasound)

The Benefits of Thermography – Thermographic Breast Screening

Adapted from September 20, 2008 - Issue 1163 “ … The establishment ignores safe and effective alternatives to mammography, particularly trans illumination with infrared scanning,” Dr. Epstein points out.Most physicians continue to recommend mammograms for fear of being sued by a woman who develops breast cancer after which he did not advise her to get one. But I encourage you to think for yourself and consider safer, more effective alternatives to mammograms.Thermographic breast screening measures the radiation of infrared heat from your body and translates this information into anatomical images. Thermography uses no mechanical pressure or ionizing radiation, and can detect signs of breast cancer years earlier than either mammography or a physical exam.Mammography cannot detect a tumor until after it has been growing for years and reaches a certain size. Thermography is able to detect the possibility of breast cancer much earlier, because it can image the early stages of angiogenesis (the formation of a direct supply of blood to cancer cells, which is a necessary step before they can grow into tumors of size).

Find Thermography Centers Listed by City & State

How Accurate is Thermography of the Breast

Breast thermography is very accurate in the hands of trained personnel using the correct type of thermography cameras. The accuracy of the examination varies around the world but varies from 87%-96% depending on old the literature is. The 96% reference is from 1999, the most recent published approved study. (USC Norris Cancer Center, Parisky, MD et al)
The following two web sites have many articles, papers and quality assurance guidelines for both doctors and patients and those interested in properly entering the field. International Academy of Clinical ThermologyThe Isabella Tracey Memorial Breast Health Foundation

Ultrasound Imaging (Sonography)

Ultrasound imaging, involves exposing part of the body to high-frequency sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of the body. Ultrasound imaging (sonography) is safe, noninvasive (no needles or injections) and is uses no ionizing radiation. It gives clear picture of soft tissues that do not show up well on x-ray images. Ultrasound imaging can help detect lesions in women with dense breasts or who have silicone breast implants. Ultrasound may help detect and classify a breast lesion that cannot be interpreted adequately through mammography alone. Using ultrasound, physicians are able to determine that many areas of clinical concern are due to normal tissue (such as fat lobules) or benign cysts. Ultrasound imaging can help to determine if an abnormality is solid (which may be a non-cancerous lump of tissue or a cancerous tumor) or fluid-filled (such as a benign cyst) or both cystic and solid. Ultrasound can also help show additional features of the abnormal area.

Many cancers are not visible on ultrasound and in some cases, ultrasound cannot determine if a mass is cancerous, and a biopsy may be recommended. It is important to choose a facility with expertise in breast ultrasound. Ultrasound depends on the abnormality being recognized at the time of the scan as it is a "real-time" examination. This requires experience and good equipment. One measure of a facility's expertise in breast ultrasound can be found in its ACR accreditation status. Check the facilities in your area by searching the ACR-accredited facilities database.

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