Edmonton 13137-156ST NW, Edmonton, AB, T5V 1V2
Leduc #18, 4302-50 Street, Leduc, AB T9E 6J9
Alberta Thermography Clinic

Mammography

Thermography, Mammography or Ultrasound? What is the difference?

 

Test

MammographyUltrasoundThermography 

Test type

Anatomical Test (structural)Anatomical Test (structural)Physiological Test (functional)

Use

Detect Structural abnormalities and pinpoint the location of a suspicious areaDetect Structural abnormalities and pinpoint the location of a suspicious areaRisk assessment imaging

Method

Involves breast compressionUses sound waves with moderate contactNon-invasive, radiation and pain free imaging

Source

X-ray radiation produces an imageHigh frequency sound waves are bounced off the breast tissue and collected as an echo to produce an imageUses infrared detectors to detect heat and increased vascularity that may be related to angiogenesis

Detection

Tumor detection in mostly slow growing or pre-invasive stageAble to detect some tumors missed by mammographyCan detect physiological changes years prior to any other screening method
Cannot detect fast growing tumors in the pre-invasive stageN/AVery sensitive to fast growing aggressive tumors

Hormones

Hormone use decreases sensitivityMy be affected by hormonal influence due to menstrual cycle (cystic changes)Hormonal activity in breasts will affect thermographic imagining to some degree

Irregularities

Large, dense and fibrocystic breasts are difficult to readCan distinguish between solid and fluid massesAll breast shapes, conditions and areas can be imaged

Area of Imaging

Upper portions of the breast, tail and axillary region cannot be visualizedAll areas of the breast and axillary region can be imagedAll breast shapes, conditions and areas can be imaged

Early Screening

Can detect tumors 1-2 years earlier than physical examinationUsed as probe for further investigating areas of concern highlighted by thermography or mammographyEarliest warning system with breast tissue and physiological changes

Efficacy

Average Specificity 75% (25% false-positive) 9 out of 10 biopsies initiated by mammography are negativeAverage Specificity 66% (34% false positive)Average Specificity 90% (10% false positive)
Average Sensitivity 80% with 20% of cancers missed in women over the age of 50; in women under the age of 50 Sensitivity is 60% or 40% of cancers missedAverage Sensitivity 83% (17% of cancers missed)Average Sensitivity 90% (10% cancers missed) most of these are slow growing tumors with low metabolic rate in the area with a high rate of survival

 

Many women, after their initial assessment with thermography, may be asked to follow up either with an ultrasound or mammogram or both to rule out the existing pathology.  When a mammogram or ultrasound test result shows no abnormal findings it does not immediately preclude that everything is normal.  High TH-scores can be reflective of hormonal imbalance, early angiogenesis and or lymphatic drainage as these factors do not appear as structural changes.

Early detection is vital; however it should be preceded by PREVENTION!  Prevention means being proactive about your health.  It only takes one abnormal cell to initiate a cancerous growth. As seen in the image below, it takes nearly 8 full years for that one abnormal cell to replicate to one billion cells which adhered together produce a detectable lump approximately 1cm in size.

Cell growth required for detection via Mammography

This 1cm lump can now be seen on a mammogram. 8 years is not an early finding.  Every woman should be aware of her risk for breast cancer and hence the importance of early screening with Thermography becomes immensely relevant.

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