Abundant Life Wellness center

Breast Thermography

Infrared Mammography

Abundant Life Wellness Center Offers 100% Green Thermography Technology. That Means to You:

  • No Injections
  • No Pain
  • No Compression
  • No Radiation
  • Non Invasive

Introducing a Safe and Pain-Free Way to Monitor Breast Health and Other Conditions Safely and Effectively.  We are excited to offer the most advanced breast thermography imaging available (also referred to as Infrared Mammography).  Medical Thermography measures the heat that radiates from your body and is completely safe. There is no radiation exposure; rather, it is similar to a camera taking a picture of your body. Medical Thermography is a non-invasive clinical imaging procedure that can detect and monitor breast disease and other conditions by showing the abnormal temperature variations present in the body.

What is Thermography?

Breast Thermography is a medical technique used extensively in other countries as a first-line screening procedure to assess breast health. This reliable technology exists here in the USA but there is a limited awareness and insufficient education that has resulted in its being underused in clinical practice.

 

Breast Thermography measures differences in infrared heat emission from normal breast tissue, benign breast abnormalities- such as cysts and fibrocystic disease – and breast cancers.  It does so with a high degree of sensitivity and accuracy.

It is a non-invasive measurement of the physiology of the breast, not the anatomy.  Although breast cancer can only be detected by tissue biopsy, Breast Thermography safely eliminates the need for most unnecessary biopsies and their accompanying costs and mental anguish.  It also does so years earlier than any other test.

Tumor tissue lacks an intact sympathetic nervous system, it cannot regulate heat loss.  When the breast is cooled to a temperature of 72° the blood vessels or normal tissue respond by constricting while tumor tissue remains hot. Over time, cancerous tissues stay hot or increase their heat.  In contrast, other possible conditions such as benign disorders, infections and fibrocystic disease cool down as they resolve.

The American Cancer Society has stated that breast cancer is the leading cause of death of women aged 40-44.  Most lethal breast cancers take approximately 15 years from their beginning until time of death.  This is why it is imperative to start reliable screening at age 25 – when the cancer is initially forming.

Thermograms are graded using the Marseilles System with grades 1-5.  TH1 and TH2 are considered normal, TH3 is moderately abnormal, and TH4 and TH5 are severely abnormal and require clinical follow up.

A trained physician can palpate a tumor when it is about 20mm in diameter – 10 to 12 years of growth …by this time approximately 25% of tumors have metastasized.

X-Ray Mammography can determine the presence of a tumor at 12-16mm in diameter.

MRI can determine the presence of a tumor at 4 – 8mm in diameter; however we do not use MRI in screening because of the cost.

Digital infrared mammography can determine the presence of a tumor that is as small as 2mm.

According to the American Cancer Society, most breast cancers can be successfully treated if the cancer is caught in the early stages.

Efficacy:
The IMS system is approved for use as a breast cancer screening tool by the FDA and the American Academy of Thermography.  IMS has processed nearly 80,000 screenings and our Chief Science Officer has interpreted 750,000 screenings with 37 years of experience using a patented five-step interpretation process that combines four analytic protocols, unique in the industry. IMS reports a 90% sensitivity and a 90% specificity.

HIPPA Compliant
All screenings are performed by an IMS Trained and Certified Technician, sent via HIPPA compliant, 512 bit Secure Socket Layer encryption internet to IMS and interpreted by the Chief Science Officer or one of his full-time staff which are trained in the processing and handling of these screenings, and e-mailed back to AIM – all within this encrypted internet.

Painless because it is “Touchless”

This procedure measures heat emanating from the body.  It is completely passive and the patient is not touched during the screening. There is no need to compress the breast tissue, no discomfort, no pain, no irradiation, no ultrasound, and no needles.

Accurate

90% Sensitivity.

Sensitivity is defined as the proportion of positive results that are correctly identified as such.

90% Specificity.

Specificity is defined as the proportion of negative results that are correctly identified as such.

Approved

The FDA and the American Academy of Thermography have approved this system for use in breast cancer screening.
FDA Title 21, Chapter 1, Sub-Chapter H, Part 884, Subpart C, Section 884.2980

Sensitivity and Specificity:

For any test to be considered effective, it must correctly identify all of the people with the disease (sensitivity) while, at the same time, correctly identify all those without the disease (specificity).

If all screenings were to be classified as having the disease, sensitivity would be 100% because there would be no patients who actually had the disease missed, however there would be many false positives.

A screening that reported that no one has the disease would produce a specificity of 100%, resulting in a very low sensitivity, and many patients who actually had the disease, would be misdiagnosed as cancer free.

Achieving a high degree of sensitivity and specificity is difficult and is a true measure of an effective test. Numerous studies have shown that Digital Infrared Mammography has an average sensitivity of 90% and an average specificity of 90%. This precision is the highest of all FDA approved breast cancer screening modalities, including x-ray mammography.

Who Benefits?

All women aged 25 and older can benefit from an infrared mammogram. Below are additional specific categories of women who can benefit.

  • Younger than 40 with and without a Family History Breast Cancer (BRCA1 & BRCA2 genes)
  • Patients with Inflammatory Breast Cancer
  • Fibrocystic Tissue in the Breast
  • Dense Breast Tissue
  • Previous Breast Surgery –  Biopsy, Implant Surgery or Breast Reduction Surgery
  • Pregnant or Nursing
  • Very Large or Very Small Breasts
  • Currently going through breast cancer treatment
  • Breast cancer survivors

What is it?
A thermal image of the breast that is digitized by a computer into 76,800 pixels which can then be read by the exclusive Eclipse® Software which can differentiate between pixels that vary as little as 12/100ths of a degree Fahrenheit.

How does it work?
It recognizes heat not mass.

Heat is present in a cancerous tumor because the tumor is “demanding” an increased blood supply from the body (angiogenesis). This blood is “hotter” than the surrounding tissue because the blood is drawn from the core of the body.

Why does it work?
Eclipse® Software is exclusive to IMS, the developer and manufacturer of this technology.  All submissions are interpreted by the software and the Chief Science Officer, Dr. Phil Hockstra.

The Chief Science Officer is available to help interpret the analytical report received from IMS available to physicians only.

The Naturopath at Abundant Life Wellness Center will review the thermogram report with each person and provide lifestyle and other recommendations on ways to improve breast health.

Preparing Your Visit
  • You should wait at least three (3) months after breast surgery, the completion of chemotherapy or radiation before having an Infrared Mammogram.
  • You should avoid any natural or artificial tanning of their chest for seven (7) days prior to the Infrared Mammogram date.
  • You  must not have had significant fevers within thirty-six (36) hours of the examination.
  • You are asked not to shave their underarms or use any skin creams, lotions, deodorants or powders on their breasts or underarms on the exam day, avoid any physical stimulation, examination or compression of the breasts (self or clinical examination, Ultrasound or X-Ray Mammogram) for at least 3 days prior to the examination.
  • You should refrain from a sauna, steam-room or hot/cold packs in contact with the breasts for at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to the examination.
  • You are asked to refrain from exercise, bathing or showering for one hour prior to examination.
  • You should refrain from any tobacco use and caffeinated beverage consumption for two hours prior to the examination.
  • Do not wear any necklaces or long hoop earrings.

The Procedure

  • In preparation for the scans, and after filling out a breast history form, patients are asked to undress to the waist in a private room to allow the breasts to cool to a room temperature of 66-74o F (18 – 22oC) for about 15 minutes.
  • For the actual scanning the patient is asked to sit about 3 – 4 feet in front of the thermal imaging system with arms raised behind the head while three images are taken: front, right side and left side.
  • Next comes the cold water challenge where patients are asked to place both hands in cold water at 52°F (8 – 10°C) for one minute.
  • After that, the three scans are repeated.  The post challenge scans will highlight tissue that did not respond to the cold by constricting.
  • Once completed, the thermography breast scans will be read and analyzed using internationally used and regulated standards by Dr. Phil Hoekstra who is a trained and skilled member of the American Academy of Thermology and also its President.
What do the Results Mean?
A thermography report with a color copy of the thermography results are sent to the patient and/or the patient’s health care provider. The international standardized grading system used in the report is called the Marseilles System of Classification developed by the Pasteur Institute in Marseilles, France. This scale provides strict criteria for rating breast thermography scans. The scans are reported on a scale of TH-1 to TH-5.
TH-1: normal tissue
TH-2: some changes in tissue i.e. fibrocystic, but normal response to cold challenge
TH-3: suspicious tissue activity with areas not responding to the cold challenge and maintaining higher heat areas
TH-4: abnormal tissue activity with areas not responding to the cold challenge and maintaining higher heat areas
TH-5: severely abnormal tissue activity with areas not responding to the cold challenge and maintaining higher heat areas.

Level TH-1 provides reassurance that the tissue activity is normal and that the appropriate follow-up is screening by thermography in one year.

Level TH-2 indicates that tissue did respond normally to the cold challenge and tissue health can be improved through preventive therapies.

Level TH-3 indicates that close monitoring through ultrasound and professional examination are advised and preventive therapies are needed.

Levels TH-4 and TH-5 require immediate referral for ultrasound exam on the areas specifically located by the breast thermography along with professional examination and other screening methods as indicated and appropriate preventive therapies.

References

Why Haven’t I Heard of Thermography?
When breast thermography (a.k.a. infrared mammography) was first explored, thermographic abnormalities in younger women were detected many times but mammograms did not detect any tumors. These results were considered “false positives,” and placed suspicion on thermography. Years later, in recall studies, 35% of these women had developed breast cancer. In addition, 41% of the women diagnosed with benign breast disease (such as fibrocystic breast) also developed breast cancer, thus validating its early warning role.

More than 800 peer-reviewed studies exist on breast thermography, involving more than 250,000 study participants describing its usefulness. The number of women in the studies range from 37,000 to 118,000, and some women were followed for up to 12 years. An evaluation of these studies revealed that breast thermography has an average sensitivity and specificity of 90% for detecting early changes in the breast that can possibly lead to cancer.

Breast thermography is able to show the early stages of a breast cancer forming which allows for prevention via lifestyle, hormone balancing and other changes as necessary. Unfortunately, many doctors are still unaware of the importance and accuracy of this technology as a preventative tool. Some doctors know how to respond when there is undeniable cancer but not where prevention is needed such as lifestyle and nutrition to avoid this disease. (REF: Guthrie, M, Thermobiological assessment of benign and malignant breast disease, Ann J. Obstet Gynecol 147:461, 1983)

“Digital infrared imaging, is based upon the principle that chemical and blood vessel activity in both precancerous and the area surrounding a developing breast cancer is almost always higher than in normal tissues. This activity frequently results in an increase in regional surface temperature of the breast. Infrared mammography uses ultra-sensitive infrared cameras and sophisticated computers to detect, analyze and produce high resolution images of these temperature variations, which may be among the earliest signs of breast cancer.”
US National Cancer Institute

The Biomedical Engineering Handbook
Infrared Mammography has the ability to identify the earliest signs of cancer formation, up to 10 years before other imaging modality can identify it.
Third Edition, Medical Devices and Systems, 2006

A Comparative Review of Thermography as a Breast Screening Technique In this review, each of the breast screening tools and their associated limitations are discussed, with a focus brought to thermography.
Published: Integrative Cancer Therapies, 2009

Efficacy of Computerized Infrared Imaging Analysis to Evaluate Mammographically Suspicious Lesions The purpose of this clinical trial was to determine the efficacy of a dynamic computerized infrared imaging system for distinguishing between benign and malignant lesions in patients undergoing biopsy on the basis of x-ray mammographic findings.
Published: American Journal of Radiology, 2003

Effectiveness of a Non-invasive Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging System in the Detection of Breast Cancer “…infrared mammography has resurfaced in this era of modernized computer technology”
American Journal of Surgery, Volume 196 Issue 4 Pages 523-526, 2008

“A negative Infrared Mammography study TH-1 or TH-2 proved powerful evidence that cancer was not present.”
The American Journal of Radiology, Jan 2003, 263-269

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