Thermography Promotes Breast Health and Offers Women an Alternative to Mammograms
One of the more unpleasant side effects of getting older for women is having to undergo routine tests such as mammograms. Yet what many patients don’t know is that there’s an alternative that can evaluate a woman’s breast health and offer the earliest possible detection of breast cancer without compression or radiation: thermography.
A method of infrared imaging, thermography relies on cameras that read the entire infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum and produce images.Medical thermography utilizes this infrared technology to provide an image of the body’s physiological responses—and all without the use of radiation, physical contact or other invasive measures.
“It’s a completely non-invasive test, which is great news for many women—nobody is thrilled with having their tender breast tissue compressed and radiated between two heavy plates,” says Liesha Getson, a board-certified thermographic technician and holistic health counselor at Thermographic Diagnostic Imaging (TDI), in Marlton. “Yet, this technology can also help women who have previously had inconclusive mammogram results avoid unnecessary biopsies—or even cancer treatments.”
At TDI, a state-of-the-art, U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved thermal imaging camera transmits data of the body’s skin temperature to a computer to convert patterns and store them as black and white images. This process allows physicians to detect thermal asymmetry or note alterations of vascular patterns to make a better assessment and diagnosis of breast cancer, in addition to neurological issues and other conditions.
“Many studies have indicated that there’s been both an overtreatment and overdiagnosis of breast cancer in recent years, and we’re learning that in some cases, giving women the opportunity to be proactive and make adjustments to their health or lifestyle is enough—and that patients don’t always need chemotherapy or radiation,” agrees Dr. Philip Getson, a board-certified thermologist at TDI and family physician since 1976. He notes that the technology has already been available in other countries for many years; thermography was approved for use in 1957, a decade before the first mammograms were instituted.
“It’s providing women with a more practical approach to their breast health,” he adds.
In addition to breast health, thermographic imaging can also assess conditions including fibromyalgia and chronic pain syndromes, thyroid dysfunction, peripheral vascular disease, sinus infections, temporomandibular joint dysfunction and dental inflammation and infection, among others. Thermography has no known risks or side effects, however Getson notes that patients who have recently undergone radiation or other similar treatments—or who are pregnant or nursing—may not be candidates for this test.
“Thermography has helped diagnosis patients who have thyroid-related symptoms but normal bloodwork, or who have an underlying dental infection that a conventional X-ray machine has missed,” Liesha Getson says. “These are issues that can have a constant and serious impact on the body’s immune system, and thermography is helping us to discover these types of infections and provide patients with a treatment plan.”
After the test results are received, physicians will discuss their findings with patients; while additional medical testing or procedures may be required, such as a biopsy, Getson says that often a patient will be able to control their symptoms with a more holistic approach—from managing stress or addressing hormone imbalances to improving their diet and getting more exercise. To that end, the practice offers holistic health coaching, an infrared detox sauna, and reiki.
“One of our goals is to take the fear out of breast cancer, and give women some of their power back,” Getson concludes. “If a woman has received a cancer diagnosis, we want them to be able to take a step back and make an informed decision… in some cases, there are alternative approaches that can be taken before pursuing life-altering treatments like chemotherapy or radiation.”
For more information or to schedule an appointment with Thermographic Diagnostic Imaging at 100 Brick Rd., Ste 206, Marlton, call 856-596-5834 or visit tdinj.com.