We challenge ourselves, our employees and advocates to convey accurate and reliable information regarding what thermography can detect and how it is best utilized as a tool for monitoring breast health. Our clients understand its effectiveness as a screening tool for determining RISK FACTORS for future disease and its use as an early detection of developing disease, both within the breast region and throughout the body.
Although we feel we’ve covered this topic repeatedly, we’d like to review again the appropriate use of thermography in breast health. We have broken this particular topic into Part 1 and Part 2 to keep this brief, yet concise.
Understand thermography cannot (and is NOT designed) to "see" structures but rather, blood flow/temperatures related to the health of the breasts. It is in this fashion that thermography can detect the development of later biopsy-proven breast cancer potentially at a very early stage.
At your appointment, we also discuss the requirement to establish a stable baseline to which all annual studies are compared against. Any changes in that stable baseline indicates the early development of disease and for those with a mindset of prevention, it's best to reverse this back to the previously-established, stable baseline. This is how thermography is best-utilized as a tool for PREVENTING future disease.
So why does thermography sometimes not identify all breast tumors?
What is the physiological basis for a thermographically "missed" tumor?"
- Lack of activity.
In order to understand how a tumor could "hide" thermographically, understand that our cameras can only measure skin surface temperatures related to blood flow. If a tumor is no longer active and there is no blood flow feeding the tumor, we cannot tell the difference between the temperature of the tumor and the surrounding tissue. Thermographically, this would be (generally) one temperature and therefore, "missed" during thermographic interpretation.
Another possible reason for a "missed" finding is that a tumor may become dormant. Perhaps the immune system has encapsulated the tumor; walled off the tumor from the rest of the body and has contained it. When you think about it, this is one major role of the immune system. In this scenario, the immune system is protecting the body from the invading tumor but thermographically it is not seen due to the lack of activity (blood flow) of the tumor.
In some cases, some rare cancers may not be vascularized or may be non-inflammatory in nature. That would mean that there is not a sympathetic component (vasodilatation and vasoconstriction) connected to the activity of the tumor and this would be "missed" as well.
DITI is used by women (and men) who have shifted their paradigm from one of “detection of disease” to one of “prevention of disease.” Annual breast thermograms monitor for a change allowing early interventions to help shift you back to your stable baseline. This is the best use of Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging.
Brenda and Lynda Witt