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Another Option to Mammography?

Another Option to Mammography?

Yes, it is October and the Pink Ribbons are flying.  Breast Health Awareness is in full swing, so let’s share information and tips about how you can make small changes that create big results in your overall breast health.

Right off the bat it is worth repeating that thermograpghy is an outstanding option for all women as a screening tool for breast health. If you are over the age of 50 then mammography also has a role to play but everyone young and old benefits from a safe and simply thermography. Thermography emits NO radiation or harmful impact of any kind and is capable of detecting some cancers long before mammography. Lets be clear, we are not recommending thermography as replacement for mammography but we have to recognize the advantages that thermography offers and use them to our benefit.

Recent changes in the recommendation of mammography includes withholding mammography until the age of 50. This is due to the potentially damaging radiation that comes with each mammogram. Getting routine mammograms prior to the age of 50 has been shown in studies to disproportionately increase breast cancer risk. When this recommendation was first announced it left many women feeling unsure about how to best defend themselves against the risk of breast cancer. The answer is overwhelming to get a breast thermogram. Thermography has been an FDA approved screening test for breast cancer since 1982. The technology has advanced dramatically and today’s women can have confidence in the ability of themography to detect suspicious vascular patterns and take evasive action long before a biopsy is even recommended.

Thermography when combined with mammography increases the sensitivity of detecting a breast lesion to 98%. That is very reassuring. Mammography has historically missed or allowed active breast cancer lesions to go undetected at a rate that causes concern. If a breast lesion is present and a given test fails to detect it then this is called a “false negative”. The test was “falsely negative” in it’s report. Mammography has shown problems in the past with having a false negative rate that is not optimal. The false negative rate for women age 40 to 49 has been around 60%. This occurs because mammography is simply a picture of breast density and if a cancer lesion is smaller than 1 cm then it can be difficult to see. Thermography on the other hand is a physiological test. Yes it too presents a picture of sorts but more importantly it is detecting heat coming from the breast. Cancer cells have a higher activity level than normal cells and as such will develop increased blood flow to serve it’s needs. This increase in blood flow to an area of increased activity (cancer foci) results in a heat pattern that can be detected by a special thermographic camera.

In a study published in The Breast Journal back in 1997, 100 breast cancer cases were followed to evaluate the sensitivity of detection of mammogram, thermography and clinical exam.  While mammograms detected abnormalities in only 66% of these breast cancer cases, thermography was positive in 87%. The really good news is that when clinical exam is combined with mammography and thermography the sensitivity (ability to detect disease) rose to 98%.

A study from the American Society of Breast Surgeons and published in the American Journal of Surgery in 2008, evaluated the sensitivity of breast thermography in detecting malignant breast cancer. In 92 patients scheduled for breast biopsy, thermography showed a 97% sensitivity rate. That’s means it positively identified an abnormality 97% of the time. The amazing component of this study is that these results were obtained by physicians new to the practice of thermography, who had only 2 hours of instruction on the proper reading of thermographic images. Image the power of this tool when in the hands of trained clinicians with proper training and experience.

Thermography is not a perfect test but it has proven itself to be a reliable adjunct that improves our ability to detect breast problems and take action before they become true tumors, or detect breast cancer and take action at an early stage. In an upcoming post I will tell you of a woman who had breast issues detected on a thermogram and then took action to reverse her situation and demonstrated an improvement on a subsequent test. 

So who would benefit from thermography? Thermography is a safe option for any patient but here are a few examples of situations where it truly shines:

  • Young patients in general to document a baseline for later comparison, which will enable earlier detection.
  • Young patients with a family history of breast cancer – allows surveillance without radiation exposure. Young tissue is more susceptible to the ionizing radiation of mammogram and therefore increases risk for later cancer development, making thermography a wiser choice.
  • The safe monitoring of suspicious breast cysts or nodules that have not yet warranted biopsy. Repeat radiation exposure would increase risk.
  • Increases the sensitivity of detecting breast cancer in those women currently having yearly mammograms.
  • Following status post breast cancer patients for recurrence.

Thermography has been shown to detect some breast lesions earlier than mammography and so can lead to earlier detection and referral for mammography for further delineation and treatment. It is safe for all women and should be considered as part of your best defense as you improve your own awareness this October. I am so confident in this technology that I have brought it into my office and make it available to all women. If you have any interest in pursuing breast thermography simply contact my office, The LaValle Metabolic Institute, in Cincinnati at (513) 924-5300 for more information or visit our website at lmihealth,com


Gary Huber, D.O., AOBEM

President – LaValle Metabolic Institute

[4 Comments]  [4 Comments] 


4 Responses to “Another Option to Mammography?”
  1. elle says:

    Being in the mammography field for over 12 years, everytime a patient has had a thermogram of their breasts, they come to have a mammogram and most of the patients I had the privelage of dealing with had nothing wrong with them. Having this test alleviates radiation the first time around, but you end up needing a mammogram anyway.
    The radiation produced by a mammogram is so low that going on an airplane exposes you to more radiation than a mammogram. Walking outside exposes you to more radiation than a mammogram. I have done a lot of research on this. The only reason women do not mammograms is because of what the media puts out there and because they do not want to have compression for a few seconds. If women can push babies out of their bodies, then women can have less than 30 seconds combined of compression during a mammogram.
    No test is 100% percent but at least mammograms give you a chance to catch it early before your life is in danger.
    I had a patient many years ago, not have a mammogram for over 7 years. When she finally decided to have one again, she had to have both breast removed due to cancer. A simple fast test, with low radiation can save your life. Women need to inform themselves and not listen to what the mammogram haters have to say.

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Elle,
      I enjoy your enthusiasm but need to be clear with regard to the radiation issue. First of all an airplane ride and walking around outside do not come close to exposing you the same radiation from one mammogram. Thats just an easy fact that anyone can look up so we need to be honest here. Secondly, a thermogram does not lead you directly to a mammogram. As I pointed out it is a great tool for monitoring breast health without radiation and only if your thermography score rises to an unacceptable level would you be directed to do a mammogram.

      We both agree that a mammogram CAN be a useful tool but we also have to acknowledge that it has poor specificity and sensitivity and as it increases the risk of cancer by it’s very use we need to employ other strategies that will help to net the greatest gain from mammography. If a thermogram can increase a women’s odds of discovering a suspicious lesion without exposing her to radiation then this is a great benefit.

      Mammograms are not recommended for women under the age of 50 because it increases their risk for cancer. Thermography is a great tool to monitor breast health for anyone in their 30′s or 40′s and even for those beyond 50 in conjunction with mammogram.

      The tool shed is getting better and we need to move forward in our thinking.
      Dr. Gary Huber

  2. Julie says:

    I am thrilled to have found this article. I was diagonsed with atypical hyperplasa in March in my right breast. It was a part of microcalcifications. Even though it wasn’t cancer, I am still very concerned. I had approximately 15 mamograms in a 6 weeks period. I was so upset. The doctors and nurses said not to worry. The risks far outweight the reward. PLEASE. I had so much radiation. I didn’t go back for a 6 month mammogram. I will now look into your method. I just can’t go back for mammograms. I am 43 years old with 2 small children. I wish I had know about this method before I had surgery. You are doing wonderful work! Thank you.

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Julie,
      You are so very welcome and thanks for your kind words. Please read the Breast health e-book that is free on this website. it is intended to educate all women regarding breast health. We have seen thermograms improve as a result f following the guidelines in the breast health book. There is a lot of research to show that these things are helpful and certainly not harmful to anyone.

      Your doctors are dong the best they can but the reality is they have a limited set of tools. Mammograms and drug therapy and surgery are what you are taught in medical school. These are valuable tools but in your case there are other tools that you need to employ that are simply not a part of the traditional medical arsenal. Nutritional therapies, diindolylmethane from broccoli, avoiding plastics, discussing bio-identical progesterone with an informed physician are just of few of the adjuncts that can give you an edge in winning this battle. These are not things your well intending doctor knows about so you must find a clinician that can assist you. Yes you may need another mammogram in the future but I would agree that anyone who receives 15 mammograms in a 6 week period has to be suspicious that this treatment plan is problematic.

      Keep reading and exploring. There is much you can do heal yourself. Be smart.
      Dr. Gary Huber

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