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Thermal Imaging May Top Mammograms

Posted by Jane Akre
Friday, November 20, 2009 12:47 AM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Breast Cancer, Mammograms, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, Thermography

Dr. Susan Lark recommends women turn to thermal imaging following the federal recommendations on mammograms.

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IMAGE SOURCE: IMAGE SOURCE: Dr. Lark Web site, Healthy Directions LLC

What is a woman to do with the information this week discouraging annual mammograms?

It was almost as shocking as the 180-degree turnabout when doctors went from encouraging hormone replacement therapy to almost overnight in 2002, deciding HRT was linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

The U.S Preventive Services Task Force, which sets recommendations for the nation, essentially said that women between the ages of 40 to 49 should not get annual mammograms unless they are high-risk such as a family history because the risks of screening outweigh the benefits.

Mammograms should be reserved for women over the age of 50, but every two years instead of annually. Most perplexing was the recommendation that women should no longer be encouraged to do self-breast exams.

Dr. Susan Lark, an anti-aging, preventive medicine, and women’s health specialist with a strong online presence, says she is angered by the new guidelines that discourage self-exam and agrees with other recommendations.

She has been writing about a better alternative to mammograms for decades because of the risks.

In her February 2008 issue of her newsletter, Women’s Wellness Today she writes,
"A routine mammogram's sensitivity (how good it is at detecting suspicious tissue) varies. If a woman is still menstruating, her breast tissue is denser, which drops the sensitivity of routine mammograms to below 70 percent. That means that as many as 30 percent of existing breast cancers are missed, which is troubling because cancers in younger women tend to grow faster.”

The other problems with mammograms:

  • Smaller rumors are less likely to show up if they are about four-tenths of an inch
  • Human error missing tumors in reading mammograms is always possible, giving them time to grow


Dr. Lark instead encourages women 40 and over a breast imaging test called thermography. Like a person’s fingerprint, the image is uniquely yours and doesn’t change much over time.

Here’s how it works. When an adult stops growing, her breasts register cool on the thermogram.

Tumors, however, exert energy as they grow and requires blood supply and usually generates extra heat, enough to show up on a thermogram. The heat reading will show up long before it would on a mammogram. Over time as the tumor grows, they get hotter.

Noncancerous structures such as cysts and abscesses on the other hand cool down, something the thermogram can see. An added benefit – thermography does not involve radiation so you can return to be reevaluated.

Dr. Lark recommends getting a baseline thermogram that compares the left and right breasts so the two sides can be compared for suspicious tissue. Repeating the procedure every couple of years provides a baseline for comparison images taken in the future.

“A spot on one breast but not the other might be a normal part of your "fingerprint" that's been there for years, or it might be entirely new-and clinically significant,” says Dr. Lark.

“In short, mammography looks at the structure of a woman's breast tissue, while thermography looks at its behavior,” she says.

Dr. Lark encourages high risk women to get mammography and thermography, as well as keep up with breast self-exams, because you are best able to know about the health of your breasts. #


1 Comment

Posted by Scott nagle
Friday, November 20, 2009 9:58 PM EST

We offer the model Thermal View 380L compact that is used for breast inspection thermography.

Comments for this article are closed.

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