Frequently Asked Questions

How accurate is each method?

   For women over 50 mammograms are accurate 80% - 84% of the time.  For women under 50, this accuracy drops to 60% because of the density of their breasts.  Thermograms miss non-growing and/or fully encapsulated tumors.  For more information on these conditions, please click on Research and under articles "Why Thermograms are important for Mammography".

For early detection, which method is better?

   Women between the ages of 30 to 50 have denser breast tissue which makes it more difficult for mammograms to pick up any suspicious lesions. Also, cancer for these women is the more aggressive type. This chart shows the growth rate of cancerous cells.  In women under 50, the average doubling time is 80 days; in women over 50, it is around 160 days.  So because a younger woman’s cancer grows more quickly, early detection is of utmost importance and thermograms are particularly suited to do this.  (See Chart on Home Page)

Why haven’t I heard more about thermograms?

   Thermograms are not covered by insurance. When thermograms first came on the scene in the 1980’s, they were used mostly to verify injury on insurance claims.  The insurance industry lobbied successfully to have them not be covered.

   Second, again when thermograms first came out, they were showing abnormalities which the mammograms could not detect. These findings were called false positives and placed thermal imaging under suspicion.  However, in re-call studies, a large percentage of these women developed breast cancer in the exact location of the abnormal false positive. 

   So today, doctors may be unaware of the real history and that thermograms got FDA approved for breast cancer screening in 1982.  Also, some doctors fear that if they do not recommend mammograms as the gold standard of breast cancer detection, they will have their licenses revoked.

 Could you describe the procedure?

   A patient undresses from the waist up and is given a paper gown or cape to put on.  She then fills out a brief questionnaire and I address any concerns the patient might have.  This is a very important time because the body needs to acclimate to room temperature.  With X to Rays’ Meditherm camera, using a cold room or putting the patient’s feet or hands in cold water is not necessary (some older cameras need to have this done).   The camera is then placed slightly less than 3 feet away from the patient.  The patient then sits for about 5 seconds for each of 6 posses.  There’s a front view, 2 sides, 2 diagonal and an optional back or posterior view.

    The scans are electronically transmitted directly to a specially trained and board certified MD. This doctor then reads the scan, writes the report and is then sent to the patient.

Have there been clinical tests done on thermal imaging?

   Absolutely. Over 800 peer reviewed studies on Breast Thermography have been conducted.  Well over 300,000 women have been studied.  And some of the studies have followed patients up to 12 years.  These trials have shown the many benefits of  thermal imaging including its ability to detect the first signs of cancer up to 8 years before any other procedure can detect a cancer.

Who certifies your thermographer?

   Thermography technicians are trained and certified by an accredited medical association.
Who reads the images and reports?
   Images are sent to medical doctors who are all board certified as thermologists.
Why do I need to come back in 3 months after my initial thermogram?
   A baseline cannot be established with only one study because we have no way of knowing if this is your normal pattern or if it is actually changing at the time of the first exam.  The 3 month interval is used because this is the time it takes for blood vessels to show change.
Do you use cold stress testing?
   No.  Studies with the latest cameras such as ours have shown this is not necessary.

What if the thermogram finds something suspicious?  What do I do?

   Any concerning findings and recommendations will be mentioned in the report. If the thermogram says the clinical correlation is urgent, you need to take the report to your doctor so he or she can do further testing.

How often do I need to do thermal imaging?

   The first year you need to do 2 – three months apart.  Everyone has their own unique thermal pattern – just like a fingerprint.  The two series of scans establish a baseline – from that baseline, a yearly thermogram is recommended. 

Where can I get a thermogram?

For Connecticut

For a current list of locations, please click here.  Or click the "Locations" button at the top of the page.