What’s the difference between breast thermography and more traditional breast exams via mammography, ultrasound, MRI, and physical palpation?
When explaining breast thermography to our patients, we emphasize that those traditional approaches reveal anomalies in anatomy, while breast thermography reveals differences in physiology.
What does this mean? Anatomic testing via mammogram, etc., will not reveal physiologic changes in temperature and blood flow that may indicate inflammatory or other metabolic changes in the tissue of one breast compared to the other.
On the other hand, a breast thermogram will not show lumps or bumps, or reveal hidden calcifications.
Each approach has its own, important applications. These methods for evaluating breast tissue are complementary. Thus one is not “better” than the other, and it would be a mistake to overlook either one for diagnostic purposes.
We advise our patients that any unusual vascular structures and high temperature differentials found by thermography need to be followed up with anatomic imaging. For example, “lumps and bumps” will often need anatomic evaluation, whether they light up on a breast thermogram or not. Another example – a metabolically inactive cancer may not light up on a thermogram, but can often be discovered through palpation and/or anatomic imaging.
Therefore, although we don’t advocate annual screening mammograms, we do advise the appropriate use of both technologies. Thus we encourage our patients, even those who may be understandably reluctant to expose themselves to the radiation of a mammogram, to opt for mammograms when it’s indicated.
To find out more about breast thermography at Pacific Naturopathic, follow the link here.