Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among Australian women between the ages of 30 and 60.
The average woman has a 1 in 9 chance (or about 11%) of developing breast cancer during her lifetime. Two-thirds of these women will be over 50 years of age, but breast cancer can and does occur in younger women.
Breast cancer is uncommon in men, accounting for less than 1% of all breast cancers. In Australia in 2001, a total of 95 men were diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer in men occurs more commonly in those aged 50 years and older.
There are different types of breast cancer, but they all begin in the milk ducts and/or the milk lobules. Some breast cancers are found when they are ‘in situ’. This means they have not spread outside the milk duct or lobule where they began.
Most breast cancers are found when they are ‘invasive’. This means the cancers have grown beyond the duct or lobule where they began into other breast tissue or out of the breast. Breast cancer that spreads out of the breast may spread to lymph nodes in the armpit nearest the breast affected by cancer (axillary lymph nodes). It can also spread to other parts of the body such as the bones and liver.
For a tumor to be detectable by clinical breast examination (i.e., by the human hand, feeling for a lump) the tumour needs to be around 1 centimeter in diameter (½ inch). A mammogram can detect a tumor at half this size (i.e., 5 millimeters in diameter).
We know that before a breast malignancy becomes detectable by mammography it has typically been present for 7-10 years.
Mainstream procedures are not approved for breast cancer screening in women under age 40 – it is widely known and accepted that they miss too many cancers and lead to too many false positive findings that result in far too many needless breast biopsies.
Mammography is undoubtedly good at picking up slow-growing cancers. It is also good at detecting so-called ‘in situ’ lesions, that is, the latent, precancerous lesions that have not yet developed – and might never develop – into truly invasive cancers. But these are not the kinds of breast cancer that are most likely to kill. That distinction belongs to the faster-growing tumours, and it is precisely these faster growing malignancies that mammography typically fails to catch.
Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D., in his 5-part report Mammography – The Hidden Downside argues mammography suffers from the drawback that it misses many of the deadliest cancers entirely, while zealously identifying slow-growing or latent cancers, a significant proportion of which might never progress or pose a threat to life.
Dr. Mercola, the New York Times best-selling author, won’t recommend mammograms. He believes they expose our body to radiation that can be 1,000 times greater than that from a chest x-ray – this makes us vulnerable unnecessarily to further risks of radiation-induced cancer. Additionally, mammography compresses the breasts tightly (and often painfully), which could lead to a lethal spread of any existing malignant cells. Dr Mercola remains steadfast even in 2014. He write, “An annual mammogram is the conventional go-to “prevention” strategy for breast cancer. But researchers increasingly agree that mammography is ineffective at best and harmful at worst.”
Late in 2009, the US Department of Health and Human Services released their findings and recommendations that screening mammography should now be started at age 50 and performed bi-annually. Up until now, screening was recommended on an annual basis at age 40; this new recommendation has created renewed controversy as doctors have concerns about reducing the number of mammograms that would be clinically justified and indicated.
When I discovered a lump in my breast in my late 30s (I’m now 56) I reluctantly lined up for a mammogram. But even without the knowledge I have amassed since then (and make freely available from this website), I intuitively felt that exposure to radiation and possible breast tissue damage was not worth the risk. So I went looking for, and found a non invasive test that could provide the earliest possible indication of abnormality and allow for the earliest possible treatment and intervention.
Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging (DITI)
Medical DITI also called ‘thermography’ can detect the subtle physiologic changes that accompany breast pathology, whether it is cancer, fibrocystic disease, an infection or a vascular disease.
It’s has been used extensively in human medicine in the U.S.A., Europe and Asia for the past 20 years. Until now, cumbersome equipment has hampered its diagnostic and economic viability. Current state of the art PC based Infrared technology designed specifically for clinical application has changed all this.
Advances in infrared technology combined with data on 300,000 women with mammotherms document that breast thermography is highly sensitive and accurate. Today, this means that more than 95 percent of breast cancers can be identified, and that this is done with 90 percent accuracy.
How does it work? Each individual has her own thermal pattern (normally symmetric) that is accurate and static throughout her lifetime. Any changes to her normal “thermal fingerprint” caused by early cell changes (pathology) will become increasingly apparent. Monitoring changes over periods of time with DITI is the most efficient means of identifying subjects who require further investigation.
Our thermal fingerprint will only change if pathology develops.
Good thermal symmetry with no suspicious
vascular patterns or significant thermal findings.
The very significant vascular activity in the left breast justified clinical correlation
and close monitoring which returned an opinion of fibrocystic changes taking place.
These changes can be monitored thermographically at regular intervals until a stable
baseline is established and is reliable enough for annual comparison.
Early Stage Malignant tumor
This is the specific area of a small DCIS. We can see the vascular feed and the
discreet area of hypothermia that is displacing the surrounding hyperthermia.
We know that breast cancers tend to grow significantly faster in younger women under 50 (i.e., under age 50 = 80 days, as compared to aged 50-70 = 157 days). The faster a malignant tumour grows, the more infrared radiation (heat) it generates.
DITI is designed to improve chances for detecting fast-growing, active tumours in the intervals between mammographic screenings or when mammography is not indicated by screening guidelines for women under 50 years of age. For younger women in particular, results from thermography screening can lead to earlier detection and, ultimately, longer life.
DITI is indicated for women of all ages, particularly in the 30-50 age group, and women of any age in a high risk group.
All patients’ thermograms (breast images) are kept on record and form a baseline for all future routine evaluations.
While some women make a personal choice to use thermal imaging instead of mammography for breast screening, other women who cannot use mammography for a number of reasons can use thermography instead of mammography. Most women use thermal imaging in addition to mammography and/or ultrasound.
Thermography is totally painless and there is no compression or contact with the body. This 15 minute test is non-invasive, uses no radiation, and in the United States its FDA approved. There are a number of clinics approved by the American College of Clinical Thermology Inc (ACCT) in the USA, here in Australia and International.
“Beyond Mammography” concludes that breast thermography needs to be embraced more widely by the medical community and awareness increased among women. Not only has it demonstrated a higher degree of success in identifying women with breast cancer under the age of 55 in comparison to other technologies, but it is also an effective adjunct to clinical breast exams and mammography for women over 55.
Finally, thermography provides a non-invasive and safe detection method, and if introduced at age 25, provides a benchmark that future scans can be compared with for even greater detection accuracy.
The biggest difference which needs to understood is what can be seen and what not. Radiology looks at anatomical changes, which is usually when there is already an anatomical change in the body. Thermography looks at the physiological processes, which therefore can be used as preventative medicine. Thermography is able to detect the possibility of breast cancer much earlier, because it can image the early stages of angiogenesis (the formation of a direct supply of blood to cancer cells, which is a necessary step before they can grow into tumors of size).
The real advantage of thermography resides in its potential as preventive medicine. Where most diagnostic screening technology can be thought of as life preserving, thermal imaging stands apart in its potential to preserve wellness. And given that a woman’s chances of getting breast cancer are greater now than 30 years ago, despite our modern day screening protocols, women are coming to understand PREVENTION IS the Cure.
- The Safe Breast Cancer Screening Test Your Doctor Isn’t Telling You About
- Early Detection Saves Lives
- Should I Get a Mammogram?” Understanding the Harms and Benefits of Routine Breast Cancer Screening
- Thermography Australia
- American College of Clinical Thermography
In love & appreciation,
Catherine P. Rollins
Founder / CEO
Ethically Supporting Women’s Choice of BHRT Since 2001″