According to a recent study, mammogram screenings may not lead to fewer deaths but may instead lead to over-diagnosis. The results were based on research where there were high levels of screening. More tumors were diagnosed, but breast cancer death rates were no lower than in areas with fewer screenings.
Clearly, if your goal is to adopt early detection as part of your wellness journey, you need to add complementary tools into the mix to balance an over-dependence on mammogram screenings alone.
As many of you know, I believe that thermography is a complementary tool for very early detection. Also known as Digital Infrared Thermographic Imaging (DITI), thermography is a non-invasive test of physiology that can alert your doctors to changes that could indicate early stages of breast disease.
Let’s face it: There’s no singular tool that is 100 percent accurate but when you add DITI with other complementary procedures, that’s when I believe the best evaluation of breast health can be made.
Is thermography worth adding to your self-care toolbox?
DITI is quite complex but here’s an idea of how it works:
- Our body emits heat that is picked up and recorded with the DITI camera
- Where there is inflammation, there is more heat that is generated
- Increased inflammation in the breast can be a result of angiogenesis or the formation of new blood vessels that are feeding at tumor.
- “More heat” is registered by the DITI camera and translated into an image through specialized software
Unlike mammograms, there is:
- No radiation
- No compression
- No pain
- No touching
With increasing evidence that inflammation often enhances tumor growth, DITI may have considerable beneficial value in the prognosis due to early detection, especially when angiogenesis is present in more than 90 percent of non-palpable tumors and 100 percent of palpable lesions.
The benefit of using DITI
Research scientists have concluded that thermography:
- Is useful not only as a predictor of the risk factor for cancer but also to assess the more rapidly growing neoplasms.
- Seems to detect active pre-cancerous breast signs six to eight years before any palpable mass appears.
I don’t know about you but I think those are two very powerful weapons to have in my holster.
A quick note about mammograms
According to the FDA, thermography is not a replacement for a mammogram screening and should not be used by itself to diagnose breast cancer. The two screenings are different — mammograms test structure and anatomy while DITI tests function and physiology.
I want to be clear that I’m not discouraging mammograms, but I am encouraging women to get the facts straight. Here are a few studies from the U.S. National Library of Medicine about Mammography:
- Low dose radiation increases breast cancer risk among high-risk women.
- Despite increases in breast cancer screenings in the U.S., the rate of diagnosis of early stage breast cancers has not resulted in a reduction of late-stage breast cancers.
- Digital mammography is associated with overtreatment.
- Invasive breast cancer incidence is 57 percent higher in women undergoing mammography screenings.
- Reducing mammography screenings to every two years does not increase advanced breast cancer rates.
I recommend finding an American College of Clinical Thermography approved clinic near you and learning more about thermography and how it may fit into your wellness journey. Remember that neither thermography, mammograms nor ultrasounds can be 100 percent accurate when it comes to diagnosing breast cancer, so it is advisable to use a few different methods and views.