If you are a woman age 40 or above, breast cancer screening is or will soon be a part of your annual health checkup. Recently, the use of breast thermography as a screening tool for breast cancer has come into the picture as an alternative to the standard screening mammogram.
Let’s take a closer look… What do experts in the healthcare industry and radiologists recommend?
What is Thermography?
Thermography, also referred to as Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging (DITI) uses digital infrared imaging to identify and analyze temperature variations in the breasts. Unlike mammography, thermography does not use radiation, a perceived benefit to some. However, the exam has been shown to produce a high incidence of false positive and false negative results, meaning the accuracy is not as good.
What is Mammography?
Mammography is a low dose x-ray used to image the soft tissue of the breast. The exams are used to detect abnormal growths or changes in the breast, or provide a baseline reference for comparison later. Mammography uses a low dose of radiation. Despite the risks associated with radiation, it has played a large role in the reduction of breast cancer deaths by almost 30% since 1990.
What does the Food and Drug Administration say?
- “Thermography is not a replacement for screening mammography and should not be used by itself to diagnose breast cancer.”
- “The FDA is not aware of any valid scientific data to show that thermographic devices, when used on their own, are an effective screening tool for any medical condition including the early detection of breast cancer or other breast disease.”
What does American College of Radiology say?
- There are no large, peer-reviewed published studies that support the routine use of other imaging techniques such as thermography, for breast cancer screening
- Due to sensitivity of only 43% for the detection of breast cancer, thermography was taken out of the Breast Cancer Detection Demonstration Project
- Click Here to read the rest of the breast cancer screening recommendations from the American College of Radiology
What do our Expert Radiologists Say?
We asked two Women’s Imaging Specialists from Clermont Radiology for their perspective about how thermography should be used today.