FAQ

Is breast thermography safe?

Yes, breast thermography has been FDA approved since 1982 and has been used in the United States and Europe for over twenty years.  Thermography is a non-invasive test. This means that nothing is sent into your body.  It simply is creating an image of your breasts by measuring your heat.  There is no contact of any kind, nor is there any pain or radiation.

Does thermography replace mammography?

Absolutely not! However, do mammograms replace infrared imaging (thermography)? The answer to this is also a resounding no; the two tests complement each other. The consensus among health care experts is that no one procedure or method of imaging is solely adequate for breast cancer screening. Breast thermography has the ability to give a warning signal in advance of invasive tumor growth.  A positive infrared image is also the single most important marker of high risk for developing breast cancer. Thermography offers the unique ability to monitor the abnormal temperature (physiological) changes produced by diseased breast tissue that allows for extremely early detection. Since it has been determined that 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer, we must use every means possible to detect these tumors when there is the greatest chance for survival. When used as part of a multi-modal approach (clinical examination + thermography + mammography), 95% of early stage breast cancers can be detected.

Can thermography diagnose breast cancer?

No, thermography, like mammography is an investigative tool. Thermography identifies abnormal physiological changes in your breasts that may be indicative of breast disease. Mammography, a type of x-ray identifies certain structures n the breast that are abnormal and could be cancerous. With both mammography and thermography, a diagnosis is done by a tissue biopsy. Many of our patients come in after an abnormal “let’s watch this area” mammogram results, and correlate the area to be watched with a thermograpic image of the same region. If the thermogram indicates a physiological change in the same area, the patient will have more information with which to make an informed decision.

I have breast implants – is thermography safe?

Yes.  Breast implants do not interfere with thermography.  Breast thermography is painless and safe, using no radiation or compression. It can be used effectively and safely for all women including pregnant or nursing women, women with dense breast tissue, and women with breast implants.

Can women too young to go for mammograms have a thermogram?

YES! This exam is especially helpful for women not yet eligible for mammograms due to their age and the latest reccomendations for age of testing. Women in the 18 to 40 age category now have another tool in addition to a clinical breast exam that can assit to detect breast abnormalities such as pre-cancerous tissue.

Is thermography useful for women who have had a mastectomy?

Yes, thermal imaging is useful in visualizing local temperature variations in women who have undergone a partial or radical mastectomy. This tool is beneficial as part of breast health follow-up.

Why is thermography so effective?

Prior to tumor formation, cells in the breast(s) beging to create a cancer-friendly environment. Part of this process involves anggiogenesis or the development of new blood vessels. These blood vessels provide significant blood supply to the area which allows the abnormal cells to multiply. The process of angiogenesis creates significant heat or thermal patterns. Thermography, being sensitive to fluctuations in temperature can visualize these changes in the breast and give an early warning signal.

Is thermography covered by Alberta Health Care?

No, health care does not cover the cost of thermography.  Some employee benefit programs may cover a portion of the exam, or the receipt can be submitted to a health spending account. Please check with your insurance provider for specific details.

Have any studies been done regarding the accuracy of thermography?

Yes, hundreds of studies have been written up in medical journals. For further information, please go to:  http://www.iact-org.org/articles/articles-review-btherm.html

Do I need a referral from my family physician?

No, a referral is not necessary.

How long does it take?

The scan, will take roughly 25-40 minutes.  The follow-up consultation at a later date will take about 20 minutes where the report findings will be provided to you.

How often will I need a re-scan?

This is dependent on the results of the initial scan. With no unusual changes noted, as well as consideration of your age and other underlying health concerns, a repeat scan will be recommended by the physicians who read the images and develop the report.

Why do we plunge our hands into cold water during the scan?

You will be asked to plunge your hands into ice water for 60 seconds during the exam.  This is known as a stress test – the shock of the cold water will put your body into a “fight or flight” response.  Normal blood vessels will constrict and cool down, blood vessels feeding abnormal cells will not.  The technician will then repeat the process of taking the images to compare the baseline images against the functional test images.

Is thermography only for breast health?

No, we offer upper and lower body imaging, full body imaging and cranial/dental/thyroid scans.

Who interprets the scans?

All scans and images are reviewed by our board certified clinical thermographers and our team of doctors.  For more information please visit the Our Team page in the About Us section of the site.

How Do I Make an Appointment?

Appointments are available by calling 780.263.0743.  You may also e-mail us at: info@albertathermographyclinic.com

I understand you also do full body thermography, what can I expect to learn from that?

Full body thermography includes a breast scan, so it is comprehensive.  A full body thermogram which is suitable for both females and males, young and old, can assist in identifying pre-existing conditions, acute or chronic issues as serious as cancer, cardiovascular circulatory conditions , pre-stroke, nervous system disorders, repetitive strain injury, TMJ, arthritis, diabetes, melanoma, liver or kidney disease, thyroid disease, lung conditions, dental infections and, finally, breast cancer.

What is the attitude in medical oncology for this procedure and breast disease?

Most physicians have very little knowledge about this topic as most use traditional, older tools to study breast disease. However, in 1998, cancer researchers at Ville Marie Breast and Oncology, in Montreal, Quebec, published an article in The Breast Journal related to DITI. In the closing remarks, the authors wrote, “Our initial reappraisal would also suggest that infrared imaging, based more on process than structural changes and requiring neither contact, compression, radiation nor venous access, can provide pertinent and practical complimentary information to both clinical exam and mammography.”

Please note:  A 48 hour cancellation notice for appointments is required or a $50 fee will be incurred.  Thank you.