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Mammograms Vs. Thermograms: Which Detects Cancer Earlier?

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued a warning about companies advertising thermograms as an alternative to mammograms when detecting breast cancer. The FDA has also given formal warnings to two companies who appear to be in violation of FDA regulations.

One of these companies is Thermogram Assessment Services of Dallas, Texas. The company has been using equipment not approved by the FDA, yet their website claims that their equipment has been cited to increase breast cancer survival rate by 61 percent.

Nature’s Treasures, another FDA-questioned company based in Los Angeles, has claimed that “thermography is far more sensitive than mammography,” and that “thermography can detect the possibility of breast cancer much earlier [than mammography].”

Neither of these companies has responded to the warning issued by the FDA.

The FDA approved thermography in 1982, but only in conjunction with mammography. They teach that thermography is not a proven alternative and that it does not detect cancer at its earliest stages.

“Plenty of evidence shows that mammography is still the most effective screening method for detecting breast cancer in its early, most treatable stages,” says Helen J. Barr, M.D., Director of the Division of Mammography Quality Standards in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “You should not rely solely on thermography for the screening or diagnosis of breast cancer.”

Cancer treatment is a highly controversial subject amongst a great portion of the population and trying to find credible information on the internet about alternative treatment options can be difficult. Of course, the FDA is a credible source, but some websites and doctors claim that they are spreading false information.

A mammogram is a low dose X-ray image of the breast. Some women find the procedure to be invasive since it requires their breasts to be pressed between a plastic plate in order to receive quality results. Some also find it very contradicting to screen for breast cancer, a disease caused by radiation (among other things), with radiation.

A thermogram is an infrared picture that detects physiological differences in tissue, like increased heat and blood flow. As the cancer grows, it depends on its own blood supply rather than the normal blood supply of the surrounding tissue. If a thermogram detects the heat from this blood flow, it may be an indicator of cancerous tissue. This process does not inflict any pain, compression, or radiation on the patient.

According to Dr. Veronique Desaulniers, who was interviewed by Ty Bollinger of The Truth About Cancer, if a woman follows a 10-year protocol of receiving a mammogram every year or every six months, the radiation that woman would be exposed to is equivalent to the amount of radiation one might receive from standing one mile away from the epicenter of an atomic bomb. She says that studies have shown that mammograms can increase a woman’s risk of getting cancer and that mammograms can only detect cancer after it has been developing for more than five years.

A holistic website says that one mammogram is the equivalent of smoking three packs of cigarettes and that mammograms cannot detect cancer early.

For a family or individual struggling with this disease, reading information that is so contradictory to what the FDA claims is confusing and discouraging. It is up to the individual to decide what method is best for them, but it is best to go into all treatment with an open mind. If a woman has any suspicion about having breast cancer, she should do whatever is necessary to prevent the development of this horrible disease.

Featured Image by Susanne Nilsson on Flickr

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