Dr. Nichole Nygren
Apr 1, 2023
Why should you get a breast thermogram?
Thermograms vs. Mammograms
The biggest difference is what they are capable of looking for. Just as an x-ray of your back shows the anatomy & structure of the bones, a mammogram uses ionizing radiation to show the anatomy & structures within the breast. An x-ray of your back can show a mass, and a mammogram can as well, because it is using ionizing radiation to look at the structure. (MRI & Ultrasound are in this category of visualizing anatomy also.)
Thermography on the other hand uses non-invasive infrared images to look at the physiology of the breast. Physiology is the function of your body, like the heart pumping blood through your arteries. Physiology of the breast would show heat/thermal abnormalities, vascular abnormalities, thermal asymmetries, and inflammation (not cysts & lumps).
Mammography is used to diagnose a mass, thermography is used to monitor breast health. Does that make sense?
Why do thermography then? Because thermography is a wonderful tool to stay well. Keeping an eye on the physiology gives you the opportunity to see very early changes, which allows you to make necessary lifestyle changes and correct your course of breast health. It says “hey, something is starting to not look right, so why don’t you start cleaning up your diet, balance your hormones, lower your stress and massage those girls!” After making lifestyle changes you can easily recheck to see if it helped.
Thermograms, mammograms, MRI’s and ultrasound are never 100% accurate. There are some things that are invisible, and in about 17% of cases, the body in its wisdom can encapsulate or wall off the tumor. For this reason, it is important to not just look at the physiology, but to also look at the anatomy of the lump, at least once while doing breast thermography. On a thermography report, anytime there’s an elevated reading, it will be suggested to follow up with a mammogram or ultrasound. Patients are also encouraged to have an annual clinical manual exam of their breasts by a qualified and experienced healthcare provider.
You may be wishing that thermography could completely replace all other types of breast exams, but like mentioned before, all exams have limitations. You have to understand going into this that just like you can’t expect a mammogram to show your breast physiology you can’t expect a thermogram to detect a mass when that’s not what’s it’s designed for. You can’t expect a thermogram to determine if you have cancer or not.
So let’s review:
What ARE the advantages of Breast Thermography?
✔️Monitors hormonal balance in the breast
✔️Provides thermal indication of possible hormonal imbalance/estrogen dominance
✔️Provides thermal indication of possible fibrocystic changes
✔️Monitors breast health
✔️Visualizes vascular abnormalities
✔️Visualizes thermal asymmetries
✔️Can detect abnormalities before mammograms
Monitoring your breast health by utilizing non-invasive screenings is always the best option. Don’t wait for time to go by when you could be identifying possible problems at their earliest stages and making necessary lifestyle changes now.