Beyond Mammograms: Proactive Breast Care and Cancer Screening
With the recent changes in recommendations for screening mammograms, my practice is suddenly filled with concerned and confused patients seeking breast cancer screening options. While mammograms are one way to screen for tumors, they do not predict the development of breast cancer. Mammograms detect structural changes that have already occurred in tissue: glandular development, cysts, tumors and calcifications -- lumps and bumps already formed.
Proactive breast care involves detecting and treating changes in breast tissue that precede the development of those lumps and bumps. Breast thermography offers an excellent way to see these early changes. This non-invasive imaging procedure uses a specially designed camera to detect and record heat patterns over the skin. With thermography, we can see temperature differentials between the breasts, and we can detect the abnormal patterns in blood vessel formation which precede tumor development.
The thermographic findings may reflect hormonal imbalance or reveal the tissue changes that may accompany cancer, fibrocystic disease, infections, or vascular disease. Through thermography, we can offer risk analysis and also monitor the efficacy of treatment interventions by observing changes in sequential thermographic findings.
Thermography has certain advantages over mammography. Accuracy is not compromised by the dense breast tissue of younger women, or confused by fibrocystic breast tissue. There is no equipment or operator contact with the body, no radiation, and no pain. The process is exactly like that of posing for a photograph.
A single thermogram is useful, but may indicate the need for follow-up thermography for comparative purposes or follow-up with an anatomic method of detection such as mammogram, ultrasound or MRI. Neither thermography nor anatomic methods of detection are 100% accurate in detecting breast pathology. They are complementary techniques, offering different information. It is important to remember that neither mammograms nor breast thermography are diagnostic of breast cancer. The only diagnostic for breast cancer is breast biopsy.
To schedule an appointment for breast thermography,
please contact us at Pacific Naturopathic, 650-857-0226.