Fast Facts on Breast Thermography
- In 1982, the FDA approved breast thermography as an adjunct diagnostic breast cancer screening procedure.
- Breast thermography has an average sensitivity and specificity of 90%
- An abnormal thermogram is 10 times more significant as a future risk indicator for breast cancer than a first order family history
- A persistent abnormal thermogram carries with it a 22x higher risk of future breast cancer.
- The size of the studies are very large up to 85 thousand participants and studies have followed participants up to 12 years.
- Extensive clinical trials have shown that breast thermography significantly augments the long term survival rates of its recipients by as much as 61%
- When used as a multimodal approach (clinical exam +mammography+thermography), 95% of early stage cancers will be detected.
Further Reading About Thermography
- Stark. A., Way, S. The Screening of Well Women for the Early Detection of Breast Cancer Using Clinical Examination with Thermography and Mammography. Cancer 33: 1671-1679, 1974
- Researchers screened 4,621 asymptomatic women, 35% whom were under age 35 y.o. and detected 24 cancers (7.6 per 1000) with a sensitivity and specificity of 98.3% and 93.5% respectively
- Gros, C, Gautherie, M. Breast Thermography and Cancer Risk Prediction. Cancer 45:51-56 1980
- From a patient base of 58,000 women screened with thermography, researchers followed 1,527 patients with initially healthy breasts and abnormal thermograms for 12 years. Of this group, 40% developed malignancies within 5 years. The study concluded that “an abnormal thermogram is the single most important marker of high risk for the future development of breast cancer”
- Spitalier, H., Giraud, D. et al. Does Infrared Thermography Truly Have a Role in Present Day Breast Cancer Management? Biomedical Thermology pp.269-278, 1982
- Spitalier and associates screened 61,000 women using thermography over a 10 year period. The false negative and positive rate was found to be 11% (89% sensitivity and specificity). 91% of the non-palpable cancers (T0 rating) were detected by thermography. Of all the patients with cancer, thermography alone was the first alarm in 60% of cases. The authors noted “in patients having no clinical or radiographic suspicion of malignancy, a persistent abnormal breast thermogram represents the highest known risk factor for the future development of breast cancer”
- The neoplastic transformation potential of mammography X rays and atomic bomb spectrum radiation.
Heyes GJ, Mill AJ.
Radiat Res. 2004 Aug;162(2):120-7.
This suggests that the risks associated with mammography screening may be approximately five times higher than previously assumed and that the risk-benefit relationship of mammography exposures may need to be re-examined.
- The NCI estimates that the risk of a false positive is about 40% which leads to unnecessary biopsies, mastectomies, lumpectomies, and radiation (which can damage your cardiovascular health).
- Originally published May 14 2007
American College of Physicians warns women in their 40s about dangers of mammograms
- The American College of Physicians has recommended women in their 40s consult with their doctors before undergoing routine annual mammography screening. An expert panel from the American College of Physicians (ACP), which represents 120,000 internists, made this recommendation in the April 3rd issue of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.