The news report I saw knocking thermograms was based on ONE case of a woman who received a false negative, indicating she didn't have cancer when in fact she did. The reporter then trotted out sound bites from a couple of radiologists (who make their living off of X-rays) to say thatof course thermograms aren't good for much and women should stick to mammograms.
The news report didn't say a word about the terrible inaccuracy of mammograms, the countless false negatives and false positives. If we're going to condemn screening procedures for one false negative, mammograms would have been outlawed years ago.
Early detection is key when it comes to any cancer, and breast cancer in particular. And it's a fact that thermograms are a safe, valuable early detection tool for breast cancer.
The problem is, no single early detection tool is flawless. Mammograms are the most well-known, and they certainly detect some cancers. But they're also virtually useless when it comes to detecting tumours in the dense tissue of younger women.
On top of that, mammograms can deliver false-negatives, false-positives, over-diagnosis, over-treatment, and radiation exposure. Last I checked, the false-negative rate was around 20 % meaning mammograms will miss one out of five breast cancer tumours.
They're also virtually useless for women under age 40 and though rare, it's the younger-than-forty crowd that develops some of the most malicious strains of breast cancer.
Thermography is not alternative medicine as such. It's legal in the United States and widely used in Europe. In the U.S. , conventional medicine has thrown it on the alternative medicine dust heap because it poses a threat to mammography, a huge, profitable industry with tens of thousands of people making a living off it.
The FDA approves thermography as safe but doesn't officially support it and says it's not an alternative to mammography. But given the FDA's poor track record in supporting safe, non-invasive, proven health treatments, you shouldn't let that stop you from reaping the benefits of thermography screening.
If you don't know about it, thermography is a form of digital infrared imaging that's completely safe ”no radiation exposure whatsoever. It's based on the concept that early tumour sites project more heat than normal breast tissue. This is because of the increased blood vessel circulation and metabolic changes that take place when a tumour first develops.
A thermogram pinpoints the abnormal heat levels that cancerous and ” this is important ” pre-cancerous areas generate. These areas pour out excessive heat long before a mammogram or any physical examination can detect a thing.
But when it comes to thermograms, the key thing is to look at changes over time. So anyone who gets a single thermogram and thinks that's the last word on their risk factor is missing out on crucial information.
While I absolutely do think some screening tests are better than others, it riles me when a news program puts out a sensational story that paints a tool as worthless. It's like the medical industry taking a single-bullet approach to healthcare, trying to pigeon-hole illnesses into one-size-fits-all problems and solutions. Healthcare isn't that easy, and it never will be.
Here's what you have to remember. Most high-tech screening procedures are flawed in some way. Take mammograms, for instance. They're just X-ray pictures of the breast. Not only do they not work well on dense breast tissue, as mentioned, but they're subject to error. The machine can malfunction. The technician who interprets your results can screw up. Or a tumour just won't show.
In a thermogram, the tumour site needs to be caught at a certain growth stage. And again, interpretation is subject to human error. The images have to be interpreted by a skilled, experienced thermographer. And as I said earlier, it's the changes seen in a series of images, taken over a period of years, that most accurately flags cancer risk.
If this sounds alarming, it really isn't. The abnormally hot areas that turn up in thermograms can take many, many years to develop into cancer. Immediate treatment isn't needed. You've got time to observe how they change and to proceed to other tests such as biopsies and mammograms if they seem warranted. Cancerous areas literally get hotter every year, and a thermogram can often see this occurring long before an X-ray could ever detect a mass.
We already know one in five cancers can't be detected by mammography. Some of those cancers can be picked up by a thermogram.
Remember, you have the right to choose what you feel is best for you.