Accuracy of Thermography

Over 800 peer-reviewed studies on breast thermography exist in the medical literature and when used as part of a multimodal approach along with clinical breast examination and mammography, 95 – 97% of cancers will be detected. With the development of digital imaging and analysis via computers, this methodology is accurate and sensitive. Like mammography and other breast imaging techniques, infrared imaging does not diagnose cancer (only biopsy can) – but merely indicates the presence of an abnormality.

Some of our potential clients have asked their physicians about Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging and were told that this procedure was outdated and useless. Unfortunately, many physicians are not knowledgeable about this technology or have outdated information about a poorly constructed study done in the 1970′s called the Breast Cancer Detection Demonstration Projects. This study compared breast examination, mammography and infrared imaging (thermography). It concluded that thermography demonstrated “no improvement over mammography” and that “further study [was] needed.” This study was seriously flawed for a number of reasons:

  • Untrained technicians performed the scans.
  • Radiologists who had no clinical experience in interpreting thermal images read the scans.
  • No standardized protocol had yet been established for infrared imaging.
  • Proper environmental protocols were completely ignored. Many of the research sites were in mobile trailers with variations in ambient temperatures! So the data obtained was corrupted.

It wasn’t until the 1980′s that established and standardized protocols for taking the scans and interpreting the scans were established. A poorly performed 30 year old study cannot be used to judge the value of digital infrared thermal imaging. This is an FDA approved technology. In fact, during the recent SARS outbreak in China and with concerns about spread of this illness via airline travel to the USA, our government used this technology in airports to screen incoming passengers for potential illness.

The staff at Gainesville Thermography, LLC have all completed training and have demonstrated competency in performing thermographic scans. In addition, the staff and Dr. Erickson are Certified Clinical Thermographers by ACCT (the American College of Clinical Thermology). Just as in taking X-rays, specific protocols must be followed to ensure accuracy of thermographic imaging, and all scans are interpreted by experienced doctors who have completed training and are certified to interpret these scans

breast thermography
Positive comparative study showing changes over one year.

References