Thermography is a breast screening technique that uses thermal infrared images for detecting breast cancer in women. It is non-invasive and painless and does not involve the compression of breasts. Although thermal imaging is not definite and surroundings can affect its results but by using thermal images irregular thermal patterns can be easily recognized by detecting increases in temperature. Thermography does not involve any radiation, instead an ultra-sensitive camera is used to create high-resolution, infrared or heat images of the breasts.
How thermography works
When tumors develop, cancer cells grow. These cells need additional blood to reproduce. So the blood flow increases for this purpose, and the skin in that area will become warmer. By using digital infrared imaging, thermography can detect subtle changes in the breast by revealing areas of heat and cold.
What to expect
Thermography test is involved of the following procedure:
- It should take place in a doctor’s office or a healthcare clinic
- The patient will stand about 6–8 feet away from the camera
- They will have a painless, noninvasive test that does not involve compressing the breasts
- The procedure will last approximately 15 minutes
- Doctor will look for any differences between the breasts
What thermography detects
A thermograph will show changes in body and skin temperature, which may be a sign of increased metabolic activity or blood flow in one particular area of the body. If the thermography detects any abnormalities, this may not necessarily be cancer and the person should seek further screening to confirm that a lump is present.
Reasons why thermography is wide-accepted among the medical community is listed below:
- Thermal imaging is non-contactand non-invasive
- The method can be used from far way
- It’s possible to simultaneously monitor a large area of the population
- Interpretation of thermogram’s colors is easy and fast.
- This method only records natural radiation from the surface of the skin and there is no trace of harmful rays, so is suitable for long-term and repeating use.
- Finally thermography is a fast way to monitor and observe the dynamic changes in temperature.
This method is non-invasive, non-contact and does not appear to pose any physical risks to a person. In addition, it includes no compression of your breasts but the test has a high rate of false-positives and false-negatives meaning that this method is not sufficiently sensitive as a diagnostic tool. Thus, another imaging technique is likely necessary after for further investigation.
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