FDA has issued a warning letter to a California thermal imaging business, alleging illegal marketing and distribution of an unapproved thermography device as a sole screening tool for breast cancer and other diseases. The agency also issued a safety communication to warn patients that it has not cleared thermography as an alternative to mammography and should not replace mammography for breast cancer screening or diagnosis. Thermography uses an infrared camera to produce images that show the patterns of heat and blood flow on or near the surface of the body.
The medical care of a patient with breast cancer is costly and, given the cost and value of the preservation of the health of the citizen, the prevention of breast cancer has become a priority in public health. Over the past 20 years several techniques have been proposed for this purpose, such as mammography, which is frequently used for breast cancer diagnosis. However, false positives of mammography can occur in which the patient is diagnosed positive by another technique.
Newer types of tests are being developed for breast imaging. Some of these are already being used in certain situations, while others are still being studied. It will take time to see if any are as good as or better than those used today.
By detecting minute variations in normal blood vessel activity, infrared imaging may find thermal signs suggesting a pre-cancerous state of the breast or the presence an early tumor that is not yet large enough to be detected by physical examination, mammography, or other types of structural imaging 3,6,7,8,9. Difficulties in reading mammograms can occur in women who are on hormone replacement, nursing or have fibrocystic, large, dense, or enhanced breasts 6,8. These types of breast differences do not cause difficulties in reading digital infrared scans. Studies show that an abnormal infrared image is the single most important marker of high risk for developing breast cancer, 10 times more significant than a family history of the disease 5.
Thermal imaging or thermography devices are often promoted as a breast cancer screening method. They use infrared imaging to detect changes in skin temperature. There is no clinical evidence that they are effective in detecting breast cancer and they are not recommended for breast cancer screening in Australia.
Thermography above produces an infrared image that shows the patterns of heat and blood flow on or near the surface of the body. A mammogram above is an X-ray of the breast which, in this case, shows a cancerous mass in white. The U.
Women's breasts are susceptible to developing cancer; this is supported by a recent study from showing that 2. The medical care of a patient with breast cancer is costly and, given the cost and value of the preservation of the health of the citizen, the prevention of breast cancer has become a priority in public health. Over the past 20 years several techniques have been proposed for this purpose, such as mammography, which is frequently used for breast cancer diagnosis.
Thermography is a test that uses an infrared camera to detect heat patterns and blood flow in body tissues. DITI reveals temperature differences on the surface of the breasts to diagnose breast cancer. The idea behind this test is that, as cancer cells multiply, they need more oxygen-rich blood to grow.
This resource was developed, reviewed or revised more than 5 years ago and may no longer reflect current evidence or best practice. Cancer Australia does not recommend the use of thermography for the early detection of breast cancer. The rationale for thermography in breast imaging is that the skin overlying a malignant breast lesion can be warmer than that of surrounding areas. Thermography in one form or another has been in use for approximately 35 years.