Why is breast screening important?
Breast cancer is now the most common cancer in the UK. As with most types of cancer, the earlier it is spotted the easier it is to treat and the higher your chance of total recovery. Regular breast screening helps to spot small changes early on and this means treatment is easier and more effective.
Why do we use Thermal Imaging?
At Bodyworks we don’t use mammograms. We use a system called Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging (DITI). So why did we choose Thermal Imaging?
Safety – mammograms use radiation to “see” through the breast tissue. Although only a small amount is used, exposure to radiation can increase the risk of cancer, particularly in those patients who are high risk because of family or genetic history. Thermal Imaging uses no radiation at all, it is like having your photograph taken and is just as safe.
Young women and women with implants – neither of these groups can rely on safe, useful results from mammograms. Young women often have dense breast tissue which means that it is very difficult to get a good result. Women with implants are also not advised to have a mammogram as the pressure can disrupt the implant.
No pain! – mammograms are just plain uncomfortable! Having your breasts squashed as flat as possible between 2 metal plates is not our idea of a good time. With Thermal Imaging no one and nothing touches you at all.
More information – mammography only “sees” the breast tissue it can squeeze between the plates. Breast tissue actually stretches from your collar bone to about 3 inches below your breasts, Thermal Imaging assesses this entire area. Mammograms only look for structures, Thermal Imaging looks for the inflammation and activity before a structure is clearly seen. This difference also means that Thermal Imaging can pick up a wider variety of issues.
How does Thermal Imaging work?
Thermographic cameras take images of heat patterns. Every cell in your body produces heat and energy. Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging takes your unique heat pattern and produces an easy to read and understand image.
Why is this heat pattern important? When there are problems within the body the pattern of heat changes. You’ll know yourself when you have fallen and hurt your knee for example, it might feel hot to the touch.
When a tumour forms it needs lots of extra blood to grow, and to do this it creates new blood vessels in a process called Malignant Angiogenesis. What Thermal Imaging can do is give information on this process, even when the tumour is only a few cells. This gives you more options on how to manage the next steps. You don’t have to wait.
With the pre-mammogram age group (under 50), the benefits of screening to detect any findings or changes that justify additional testing or closer monitoring are easier to define.
In general, women under the age of 50 usually have breasts which are simply too dense to be effectively screened by a mammogram or ultrasound. In this case and on average, only 10 – 40% of abnormalities are detected.
|40% of cancers missed in women under age 50 i.e. average 60% sensitivity||17% of cancers missed in all age groups i.e. average 83% sensitivity.||10% of cancers missed in all age groups i.e. average 90% sensitivity|
|20% of cancers missed in women over 50 i.e. average of 80% sensitivity|
Breast cancers grow significantly faster and are usually much more aggressive in younger women and are the leading cause of death for women aged 34 – 54.
|Age||Average Tumour Doubling Time|
|Under 50||Every 80 Days|
|50 – 70||Every 157 Days|
|Over 70||Every 188 Days|
|Source: Cancer 71:3547-3551, 1993|
For example, in those women under 50 years of age, an average cancer cell growth rate might look something like – after:
90 days – 2 cells
1 year – 16 cells
2 years – 256 cells
3 years – 4,896 cells
4 years – 65,536 cells
5 years – 1,048,576 cells
6 years – 16,777,216 cells
7 years – 268,435,456 cells
8 years – 4,294,967,296 cells
10 years – considered lethal
It is only after 8 years and having doubled around 32 times that mammograms or ultrasound usually detects a problem and at this stage, it might be the size of a small grape.
Thermal Imaging can be used to detect growth patterns as early as the 2nd year
In 1982 and 2005, the FDA approved breast thermography as an adjunctive breast screening procedure.
Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging has been recognized as a viable diagnostic tool since:
Over 800 peer-reviewed studies on over 300,000 women have followed patients for up to 12 years.
These clinical trials have demonstrated that breast thermography can be used to detect the first potential signs of a cancer up to 10 years before any other procedure.
Importantly, these studies show that using Thermal Imaging as well as traditional mammography and clinical examination can detect 95% of all early stage breast cancers and increase the long term survival of the patient.