Thermographer: Christina Garlewicz, CCT
The Midwives of New Jersey believe that being proactive with breast health is extremely important to early breast cancer detection and as such we are proud to offer Thermography.
Thermography is a painless, non-invasive, state-of-the-art clinical test. It is used as an early detection program to identify activity in the breast that could lead to pre-cancerous cell growth. Thermography does not use any radiation to detect possible masses. Women of all ages are given the opportunity to increase their chance of detecting breast disease early on. It is particularly useful for women under 50 where mammography is less effective.
How Does Thermography Work?
State-of-the-art breast thermography uses ultra-sensitive infrared cameras and sophisticated computers to detect, analyze, and produce high-resolution images of temperature and vascular changes. By carefully examining changes in the temperature and blood vessels of the breasts, signs of possible cancer or pre-cancerous cell growth may be detected years prior to being discovered using any other procedure.
Is Thermography Safe?
Yes, Breast Thermography is as safe as getting your picture taken. There is no radiation exposure or anything invasive about the test.
Is Thermography Different Than a Mammogram or Ultrasound?
Yes. Unlike mammography and ultrasound, thermography is a test of physiology, meaning it looks for functional changes in breast tissue which may indicate trouble years before a tumor can be detected by other means. It detects and records the infrared heat radiating from the surface of the breasts. It can help in early detection and monitoring of abnormal physiology and the establishment of risk factors for the future development of cancer. This gives the woman an opportunity to change her lifestyle to promote breast health.
Mammography and ultrasound are tests of anatomy. They look at structure. When a tumor has grown to a size that is large enough and dense enough to block an x-ray beam (mammography) or sound wave (ultrasound), it produces an image that can be detected by a trained radiologist. Most cancers are detected by mammography when the diameter of the tumor has grown to the size of a dime and contains over 4 billion cells.
Does Breast Thermography Replace a Mammogram?
When used as part of a multi-modal approach (thermography + clinical examination + mammography), 95-98% of early stage breast cancers can be detected.
Who Should Have a Thermogram?
Thermography can be utilized by all women, all shapes, all sizes and all ages. It is not limited by breast density and is ideal for women who have had cosmetic or reconstructive surgery, women with large or small breasts, a history of fibrocystic breast disease, women with dense breast tissue, pregnant or breastfeeding, and pre and post-menopausal.
When should I get my first Thermogram?
Because the number one killer of women ages 29-45 years of age is breast cancer, we recommend a baseline thermogram beginning at age 20.
By beginning the screening process at age 20, we are able to establish a normal baseline to which all future thermograms can be compared. Since thermography looks at how the breast is functioning, any change noted in your unique “thermal fingerprint” may be the first warning that something is going on.
- Age 20 – Baseline (15-20 percent of breast cancer occurs between the ages of 20-44.)
- 20-30 yrs – Every 3 years
- 30 years and older – Yearly
Additional thermograms may be performed more frequently for higher risk women or based on suspicions from prior thermographic examination at the doctor’s discretion.