March 5, 2011

018 Breast Thermography [29 June 2009]

Thermography is becoming an important tool for the early detection of breast cancer. Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging (DITI) uses new high resolution digital infrared cameras to detect subtle changes in breast temperature that indicate an abnormality and possible breast disease.

There are several advantages of DITI over mammography. It is non-invasive, painless, and does not expose the body to potentially harmful X-ray radiation. Most importantly DITI can detect cancer and other breast diseases earlier than with either clinical breast examination or mammograms alone.

A 1997 Canadian study found that breast thermograms were positive for 83% of breast cancers compared to 61% for clinical breast examination alone and 84% for mammography. Combining thermography with mammography, the results increased to 95%.

DITI is especially useful for younger women ages 30-50 for whom X-ray mammography is less effective. For older women it can be used as an adjunct to mammograms and clinical examinations.

More information can be found at these websites: and

One disadvantage is the cost. For reasons explained in the websites, thermography is not covered by many insurance companies and is available only in private clinics. So even though the proceduregy is less expensive than an X-ray mammogram, the cost to the patient is considerably more. This should improve as more patients request it.

There are several clinics in Saskatchewan. To find one visit and click the Find Thermography Clinics button.

This article is intended for educational purposes only; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

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