The American Cancer Society estimates that 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer are diagnosed every year among U.S. women alone, and that of these cases, about 1,200 women under the age of 40 die every year from breast cancer.
Although they aren’t intended to treat cases of cancer, thermography tests are being performed today on many adult women as part of early risk assessment programs for breast cancer. They’re even commonly recommended for women under the age of 50, the age group that mammograms might be the least accurate for. This gives women of all ages the best possible protection against breast cancer by offering the opportunity to establish risk factors early on. Thermography has the ability to identify patients at the highest risk and actually increase the effective usage of mammograms imaging procedures afterwards.
One of the primary advantages of thermography is that it’s usually performed years before conventional mammograms are ordered. This allows doctors to identify patients who are at a higher risk for cancer development so that they can be monitored more carefully.
Following thermography indicating a potential problem in the breast, it’s very common to utilize other tests like mammography or ultrasound to confirm if there is a lesion, growth or tumor forming. Because various tests are used together to give the patient the best chance of a full recovery and positive outcome, thermography has been called “an adjunct to the appropriate usage of mammography, and not a competitor.”
As of now, the American Cancer Society does not recommend thermography as a replacement for mammograms. Thermography can be used to supplement information from a mammogram to help identify cancer, the organization notes.
Thermography tests can also detect subtle changes in breast temperature that indicate a variety of breast diseases other than cancer, too. These include other forms of fibrocystic syndrome or Paget’s disease. A detection of abnormal heat patterns will then lead your doctor to prescribe follow-up procedures, in order to properly diagnose your condition and confirm if, or if not, you’re developing cancer.
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