Combining Thermography and Ultrasound Together is a Smart Move for Women!
Updated: Apr 13
Written by: Rhonda Keagy, CCT 2
Why does Insight Holistic Imaging make a recommended plan for all women combining breast ultrasound in conjunction with thermography during their second baseline thermography screening appointment?
Although providing a mobile thermography screening has been my passion for many years as a certified technician, I have to admit that there are times when I give a strong recommendation to gals who are considered to be at high risk to consider putting an ultrasound screening in their prevention plan for breast screening along – and in conjunction with -their annual thermogram. But, in reality, this protocol is a really smart move for all women, not just those at high risk.
Thermography is ideal for the proactive woman who will follow the protocol set forth for this type of screening. Thermography, or digital infrared thermal imaging (DITI), sees heat patterning. It is not an Xray (like a mammogram) which looks only at structure in the body. These DITI images are like unique-to-you fingerprints that will not change unless there is inflammation or unusual activity in the breast tissue or surrounding areas. Every woman is different and thus every heat pattern is different, so it is imperative to follow the guidelines set forth after your first screening to have a follow up screening done in the recommended 3-6 month period in order to make a solid determination of your breast health at the onset of thermography screening. Not following this protocol can be detrimental to the long-term validity of the screening as having only one screening does not provide a true solid result. It is important to know and consider that after the baseline is set, every screening you have thereafter is compared to it in order to confirm that your heat patterning is, and does, remain stable over time. This is the beauty of this non-invasive, non-radiation, non-compression screening.
I will say that the best part about thermography is that any time a baseline is compromised, it is generally a lifestyle change to reverse it and put it back in order with no treatment necessary. This screening is excellent for monitoring overall breast health and for keeping any of these imbalances from becoming an early-stage disease in the breast.
Thermography is also excellent if you have implants, have had surgery to your breast(s), if you are cystic/fibrocystic or have been told you have dense breasts and a mammogram proves inconclusive.
BUT Thermography is NOT a stand-alone screening - nor are any of the structural screenings available for the breast (mammograms, ultrasounds or MRIs). While a woman may opt not to have a mammogram (because it also is just a preventative screening, like thermography, and cannot diagnose anything), there are times when an ultrasound as an added structural screening is prudent to your proactive care. The doctors that do the thermography interpretations will recommend a structural screening if a woman strays from her baseline or, if after her first screening, they feel that having one is necessary before returning for the second thermography screening. It is imperative for these doctors to do their due diligence in making sure that they review and report all findings and you would not want it any other way if you are depending on this screening for your annual breast disease prevention..
Like the doctors that review thermograms for baseline though, I highly recommend, for the proactive woman and especially for a woman at high risk (history of cancer in the family, a personal cancer scare or biopsy, fibrocystic breasts, or scar tissue in the breast area), that in conjunction with her annual thermogram she should have an elective ultrasound at least every 4-5 years. A frank discussion with your OB/GYN on your prevention plan is a necessity and it may be recommended (based on your personal health) that an ultrasound screening be conducted more often. This is just prudent to your good breast health care and provides you with double coverage should any tumor exist that has remained thermally silent in thermograms or, likewise, a development is seen before a mass becomes visible in the structural screening.
Ultrasound is also non-invasive and there is no radiation from this screening. This protocol totally takes the fear out of any breast health issues knowing that all bases have been covered. When thermography is used alone, it has the same effectiveness rating as all other structural screenings at approximately 87%. But combined with the use of ultrasound, that rating is boosted to 97% and is the best we can get based on today’s technology. It would be ideal if there were one perfect screening available for women to monitor their breast health, but that just is not the case. Even a mammogram can provide false positives and false negatives in their reporting when it is the sole screening used to monitor breast health. So being prudent and proactive is a necessity to many women – especially for peace of mind.
During your second baseline screening with Insight Holistic Imaging, we talk about your continued care in this regard and I can help guide you to make decisions for yourself on proactively screening for optimal breast health in both modalities. Be prepared to be educated on these and other aspects of breast health during that 30 minute screening. We will specifically go over how to make sure you are getting the very best care you can get from your screening(s), your lifestyle and your healthcare choices. I provide you with guidance based on your health history and current disposition to make choices that are right for you personally and not just one-size-fits all.
See you soon! Rhonda