Mammography

Thermography, Mammography or Ultrasound? What is the difference?

 

Test

Mammography Ultrasound Thermography 

Test type

Anatomical Test (structural) Anatomical Test (structural) Physiological Test (functional)

Use

Detect Structural abnormalities and pinpoint the location of a suspicious area Detect Structural abnormalities and pinpoint the location of a suspicious area Risk assessment imaging

Method

Involves breast compression Uses sound waves with moderate contact Non-invasive, radiation and pain free imaging

Source

X-ray radiation produces an image High frequency sound waves are bounced off the breast tissue and collected as an echo to produce an image Uses infrared detectors to detect heat and increased vascularity that may be related to angiogenesis

Detection

Tumor detection in mostly slow growing or pre-invasive stage Able to detect some tumors missed by mammography Can detect physiological changes years prior to any other screening method
Cannot detect fast growing tumors in the pre-invasive stage N/A Very sensitive to fast growing aggressive tumors

Hormones

Hormone use decreases sensitivity My be affected by hormonal influence due to menstrual cycle (cystic changes) Hormonal activity in breasts will affect thermographic imagining to some degree

Irregularities

Large, dense and fibrocystic breasts are difficult to read Can distinguish between solid and fluid masses All breast shapes, conditions and areas can be imaged

Area of Imaging

Upper portions of the breast, tail and axillary region cannot be visualized All areas of the breast and axillary region can be imaged All breast shapes, conditions and areas can be imaged

Early Screening

Can detect tumors 1-2 years earlier than physical examination Used as probe for further investigating areas of concern highlighted by thermography or mammography Earliest warning system with breast tissue and physiological changes

Efficacy

Average Specificity 75% (25% false-positive) 9 out of 10 biopsies initiated by mammography are negative Average Specificity 66% (34% false positive) Average Specificity 90% (10% false positive)
Average Sensitivity 80% with 20% of cancers missed in women over the age of 50; in women under the age of 50 Sensitivity is 60% or 40% of cancers missed Average Sensitivity 83% (17% of cancers missed) Average Sensitivity 90% (10% cancers missed) most of these are slow growing tumors with low metabolic rate in the area with a high rate of survival

 

Many women, after their initial assessment with thermography, may be asked to follow up either with an ultrasound or mammogram or both to rule out the existing pathology.  When a mammogram or ultrasound test result shows no abnormal findings it does not immediately preclude that everything is normal.  High TH-scores can be reflective of hormonal imbalance, early angiogenesis and or lymphatic drainage as these factors do not appear as structural changes.

Early detection is vital; however it should be preceded by PREVENTION!  Prevention means being proactive about your health.  It only takes one abnormal cell to initiate a cancerous growth. As seen in the image below, it takes nearly 8 full years for that one abnormal cell to replicate to one billion cells which adhered together produce a detectable lump approximately 1cm in size.

Cell growth required for detection via Mammography

This 1cm lump can now be seen on a mammogram. 8 years is not an early finding.  Every woman should be aware of her risk for breast cancer and hence the importance of early screening with Thermography becomes immensely relevant.