Thermography — Not Just for Breasts Anymore


Marcel Hernandez, N.D.

As part of our preventive medicine program at Pacific Naturopathic, we’ve offered BREAST THERMOGRAPHY for many years.

Because we’ve learned a great deal about thermography over time, here’s a brief update.

What we know…

  1. The uses and applications of thermography go well beyond evaluating breast health.
  2. EVERYONE can benefit from routine breast thermography. Thermography can detect inflammation in any body tissue. In fact, thermography is tragically undervalued and under-utilized for health evaluation.
  3. Unlike mammography, thermography doesn’t emit radiation.

What is thermography?

Put simply, thermography uses infrared light to detect heat patterns that indicate inflammation in tissues.

Dr. Marcel Hernandez, ND

How does thermography help evaluate breast cancer risk?

Before a tumor can be detected by traditional mammography, the cancer cells will require a great deal of oxygen-rich blood to grow; and when the blood flow to the cells increases, the temperature in the affected tissue rises. 

Is Mammography an alternative to a mammogram?

No. Thermography is not an alternative to mammography.

Mammography detects tumors in breasts.  Mammography is not an instrument for diagnosing breast cancer. Only a biopsy is diagnostic.

Thermography detects higher than normal temperatures in tissues.  The cause of the elevated temperatures needs to be determined before we can arrive at a diagnosis.

Who should get a breast thermogram?

Breast thermography evaluation can be helpful to detect abnormally high tissue temperatures in men or women, but it is especially useful for those with dense breasts.

What can I expect during a thermographic evaluation?

For thermography of the breast and upper body, the patient will disrobe from the waist up and rest for a short period as their body becomes acclimated to the temperature of the room. A technician will then take several images of the breasts, including front and side views. The test takes about 30 minutes, including acclimatization.

A doctor will analyze the images, and results will usually be available within a week.

A similar procedure is followed for evaluating other parts of the body.

What are the risks and side effects?

The risks of thermography are equivalent to having your photo taken with a smartphone.  It’s a non-invasive, non-contact test that just uses a different type of camera.  There is no risk.

What are some applications of thermography?

Inflammation in tissues creates heat.  For example, infections generate heat at the site of the infection – we’ve all felt the heat around an abscessed tooth, a sprained ankle, or a sore knee.

In fact, dentistry is another possible area of thermographic evaluation.   When Dr. Connie and I purchased our thermography equipment, the person demonstrating it focused the camera on my head and shoulders. Everything looked fine except for heat emanating from my lower right jaw, even though I felt no pain, nor did I notice any swelling or discomfort.  The next day, I noticed that a crown in the area was loose and rubbing against the soft tissue, creating chafing and mild inflammation.  The infrared camera had picked it up even before I could notice it. I was won over!

In addition to breast thermography, we’re now offering complete upper-body thermography in our office. Please phone to schedule, or for more information.

For information about the services we offer at Pacific Naturopathic, please give us a call at 650-961-1660, use the convenient Contact Form to get in touch.