Thermography in Abingdon, VA
Although breast cancer can afflict a person of any age or gender, it is most commonly found in women and becomes a greater risk with each passing year. Early detection is the greatest hope in fighting breast cancer, but no matter how advanced detection equipment has become, no test is perfect. That is why your doctor may recommend supplementing traditional mammogram screenings with thermography.
It is important to note that thermography is in no way intended to replace regular mammogram screenings, but as it works using digital infrared thermal imaging rather than x-ray, it may uncover things that a traditional mammogram will not. Using infrared cameras, thermography is a radiation-free, non-invasive addition to your regular breast exam.
While your doctor may suggest regular mammograms every one to two years once patients reach the age of forty, women as young as twenty may consider screening if their family has a history of breast cancer.
Before the age of forty, or in some cases even fifty, a woman's breast tissue is much thicker, making it harder to find signs of cancer in the x-ray images produced with a mammogram.
In these circumstances, thermography may detect things that the mammogram will not, because a thermal scan searches for signs of a tumor rather than trying to find the tumor itself.
How does Thermography work?
Patients undergoing a thermography scan stand before an infrared imaging camera. The varying temperatures in their body are recorded digitally as a range of colors.
In its natural state the body is thermally symmetrical, meaning that the range of colors on the left should look almost identical to the colors on the right. In situations where there is a blood vessel variation or a metabolic change, an imbalance will become visually apparent. These conditions may point to the existence of a tumor as tumors require an increase of blood flow to survive.
This evidence in no way affirms that there is a cancerous tumor present, but it can help us determine if further examination is necessary.
The images taken during a thermography scan are graded as follows:
- TH 1 - Normal uniform non-vascular
- TH 2 - Normal uniform vascular
- TH 3 - Equivocal (questionable)
- TH 4 - Abnormal
- TH 5 - Severely abnormal
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