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Breast Health | Thermography, a screening tool
Breast Health - Thermography

Thermal Imaging

A screening tool
that compliments mammography.

The American Journal of Surgery, states that thermography is a powerful adjunct to mammography and ultrasound for women with dense breast tissue.  (Am J Surg. 2008 Oct.; 196 (4):523-6)   

An expert in the field of thermal imaging reports that breast thermography can help to actually prevent breast cancer. 
(Dr. Robert L. Kane, DC, DABCT, 650-868-0353, email:  rk@robertkane.com, or

One of the easiest ways to explain this is on page 3 of Dr. Kane's article (published in the Original Internist: Sept. 2010 with formatting and images updated Oct. 2010). 

You will see the 2 thermal images in gray scale format.  The one on the left has a lot of white vascular structures going down into the breasts.  This is a sign of estrogen dominance.  Because breast tissue can hold up to 50 x's the estrogen found in serum levels, this is an excellent way to help monitor hormonal levels and the only way to see this.  On the right image you can see this same woman after homeopathic treatments was able to decrease her estrogen levels by the decrease in her vascularity.  

It is well known that high estrogen levels are a risk factor for breast cancer. Thermal imaging can tell you what your hormonal grade is.  The scale goes from 0 to 4, 4 being the highest.  The only women that should be a hormonal grade of 3 or 4 are women who are pregnant or nursing.  Otherwise it becomes a risk factor for breast cancer.  

Thermal imaging is the only tool known today to help monitor your risk of having breast cancer now and in the future.  Because it can see before a mass is formed, for the first time women have the opportunity to try and turn the disease process around before they can be diagnosed with cancer via any of the radiological tools available today. 

With no radiation, no compression, non-contact, and no pain... this is a test all women should be doing along with other diagnostic testing as recommended by their health care provider.  No single test is accurate enough to trust your life with but when thermography, mammography and clinical breast exams are combined, studies are showing up to 95% accuracy in detecting breast disease.

Baseline thermal imaging is recommended to start at age 20, when breasts are generally still healthy, then every 3 years until age 30.  At age 30 it is recommended to have scans done annually.  With this protocol we can see the disease at it's earliest beginnings and make changes as needed.  Thermal imaging is ideal for pre-menopausal women, pregnant or lactating women, women who have undergone any surgical procedure, to include breast enhancement, reduction, and mastectomy.  Also it is ideal for large breasted women, dense breast tissue, post menopausal women taking hormone replacement and young women who are not recommended for mammography due to dense fibrous breast tissue.

Thermography Research: 

  • There has been over 30 years of research comprising of 300,000 women over 800 peer-reviewed studies on breast thermography exist in the index-medicus literature.
  • Breast thermography has the ability to detect the first signs that a cancer may be forming up to 10 years before any other procedure can detect it.
  • Research has shown that breast thermography significantly augments the long-term survival rates of its recipients by as much as 61%.
  • When used as part of a multimodal approach (clinical examination + mammography+ thermography) 95% of early stage cancers will be detected.
  • Some of these studies have followed patients up to 12 years.
  • Strict standardized interpretation protocols have been established for over 15 years.
  • 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 of the disease.
  • A persistent abnormal thermogram caries with it a 22x higher risk of future breast cancer.
  • An abnormal infrared image is the single most important marker of high risk for developing breast cancer
Early studies done on thermography (in the 1970's before digital technology) showed that thermal imaging had a high "false positive" out come.  What never got mentioned... 10 years later, is that most of those women went on to develop breast cancer!  No other test could detect the disease, so thermography got incorrectly labeled as a false positive, when indeed it correctly detected the disease after all!

Thermal imaging and mammograms are different.  Many women want to know if they can have a thermogram as an alternative to a mammogram.  Because these two technologies are completely different and looking at different aspects of breast health, one can not replace the other.  Thermograhy is looking at the function of the breast tissue (physiology), where mammograhy is looking at the structure of the breast tissue (anatomy).  The 2 technologies together make for a much more complete picture of the whole.  

Because mammography is the standard of care, it is the tool that has been chosen to identify a mass once it has been formed.  A mammogram can be taken to surgery to remove the mass, a thermogram can not.  

Thermography can see the disease process before that mass has ever been formed, when it is so small (can be detected as small as the size of a ball point pen), it is only a "fever" and too difficult to perform a biopsy on because the exact location is difficult to locate.  

The two technologies compliment each other and neither technology is accurate enough to be used as a stand alone tool.  Every technology available today has their strengths and weaknesses, including ultrasound and MRI.  We need to use every tool available and health care providers can learn how and when to incorporate thermal imaging.  

Thermography was FDA approved as an adjunct tool to mammography in 1982; however, it is not yet government regulated.  Because of this, it is very important to find a facility with the highest standards, quality control, images that are reproducible, and a multitude of other factors.  The International Academy of Clinical Thermology is the oldest, most trusted thermal imaging source.  View the IACT website at http://www.iact-org.org.  IACT certified centers in our state can be found at http://www.iact-org.org/links.html

This page was submitted by:

Karla Porter, R.T.(R)(CT),CTT
(509) 315-4154

Karla is the Founder of
Beyond Pink Foundation

Karla Porter has a 30 year history working as a radiological technologist certified in both X-ray and CT.  She is a certified thermography technician with the International Academy of Clinical Thermology (IACT).  Karla is also a certified clinical breast examiner with MammaCare. 

What You Can Do
  • Breast Health Tips
Limit exposure to EMFs (cell phones, microwaves, etc.)
Avoid or limit caffeine
Eat organic whole foods
Avoid exposure to chemicals
Consume healthy fats
Have your hormones tested
Reduce or eliminate red meat
Reduce sugar consumption
Enjoy daily small doses of sunlight
Practice stress management
Take care of your teeth
Maintain a healthy weight
Adopt an anti-inflammatory lifestyle
Have an emotional support network
Eliminate junk foods and sodas
Exercise daily
Avoid birth control pills
Avoid synthetic hormone replacement
Rest adequately and sleep in the dark
Detoxify on a regular basis
Avoid all plastics for food, water and personal care products
Avoid metal underwire bras
Consume anti-oxidants and digestive enzymes
Do monthly self-exams
Put yourself first
(Source:  Tricia Jo Webster, The Spokesman-Review, and Karla Porter, “Beyond Pink”, 10-2-16)

Local Organizations
Additional Resources

Beyond Pink.  This is a non-profit fundraising event that was started to ensure that all women would have the economic means to have access to breast exams with Thermography.  If you feel you cannot afford a Thermography exam, you may qualify for a FREE Thermal breast cancer screening.  Apply for a Thermography grant at http://www.BeyondPink.net

Spokane Regional Health District
Free health exams, screenings, limited diagnostic testing and treatment, education, referrals and follow-up. 
Eligible women:
  • must live in Washington State,
  • be 40-64 years old, or 35-39 years old with breast or cervical symptoms,
  • have limited income,
  • be uninsured or have insurance that does not completely cover these services,
  • or have insurance that requires a cost-prohibitive deductible or co-payment.
Call for more information on the screenings.
(509) 324-1553

3131 N. Division St.
Spokane, WA   99201
(509) 324-8612
Mon-Fri 10 am-5:30 pm; Sat. 10 am-4 pm
Mastectomy Products

The Essential Woman Boutique
507 S. Sherman St
Spokane, WA
(509) 363-0100
Mon-Fri 9 am - 5 pm; By Appt. Evening & Saturday
Mastectomy Products, swimwear, wigs, head-wear and more