Thermography, Mammography or Ultrasound? What is the difference?
|Anatomical Test (structural)||Anatomical Test (structural)||Physiological Test (functional)|
|Detect Structural abnormalities and pinpoint the location of a suspicious area||Detect Structural abnormalities and pinpoint the location of a suspicious area||Risk assessment imaging|
|Involves breast compression||Uses sound waves with moderate contact||Non-invasive, radiation and pain free imaging|
|X-ray radiation produces an image||High frequency sound waves are bounced off the breast tissue and collected as an echo to produce an image||Uses infrared detectors to detect heat and increased vascularity that may be related to angiogenesis|
|Tumor detection in mostly slow growing or pre-invasive stage||Able to detect some tumors missed by mammography||Can detect physiological changes years prior to any other screening method|
|Cannot detect fast growing tumors in the pre-invasive stage||N/A||Very sensitive to fast growing aggressive tumors|
|Hormone use decreases sensitivity||My be affected by hormonal influence due to menstrual cycle (cystic changes)||Hormonal activity in breasts will affect thermographic imagining to some degree|
|Large, dense and fibrocystic breasts are difficult to read||Can distinguish between solid and fluid masses||All breast shapes, conditions and areas can be imaged|
Area of Imaging
|Upper portions of the breast, tail and axillary region cannot be visualized||All areas of the breast and axillary region can be imaged||All breast shapes, conditions and areas can be imaged|
|Can detect tumors 1-2 years earlier than physical examination||Used as probe for further investigating areas of concern highlighted by thermography or mammography||Earliest warning system with breast tissue and physiological changes|
|Average Specificity 75% (25% false-positive) 9 out of 10 biopsies initiated by mammography are negative||Average 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 missed||Average 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.
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.