Thursday, March 15, 2012

Guest Post: How Thermography Could Save Your Life

The following is an interview/guest post with Mary Kubisewsky, a breast cancer survivor and clinic director of Thermography Clinic Kitchener. Mary Kubisewsky celebrated 7 years cancer free in November 2011 and now dedicates her life to encouraging women to be proactive and take control of their health – especially breast health.

Q.  What is Thermography and how does it work?
A.  Breast Thermography is an FDA approved (since 1982) radiation and compression free procedure that images the breasts to aid in early risk assessment for breast cancer.  The procedure is based on the scientific principle that chemical and blood vessel activity in both pre-cancerous tissue and the area surrounding a developing breast cancer is almost always higher than in the normal breast.

With breast thermography, state-of-the-art infrared cameras and sophisticated computers detect, analyze and produce high-resolution images of these temperature and vascular changes. By carefully examining these changes, signs of possible cancer or pre-cancerous cell growth may be evident through early risk assessment up to 10 years prior to being discovered using any other procedure.

Q.  Does Breast Thermography replace conventional tests for screening for breast cancer?
A.  Thermography does not replace standard detection methods, but when used as a multi-modal approach (clinical examination, thermography, mammography), peer reviewed studies have shown that 95% of early stage breast cancers can be detected!*

“This technology is particularly exciting for young women and those with dense breasts, since mammography isn’t usually useful in these cases. The “wait and see” or “come back in a year” approach is no longer acceptable”! (Mary Kubisewsky, Clinic Director of Thermography Clinic Kitchener Inc.)

Since it is estimated that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, we must use every means possible to detect cancers where there is the greatest chance for survival!

Q.  When do you recommend that a woman have her first thermogram?
A.  Thermal imaging can be a valuable early risk assessment tool that is indispensable to a woman’s health. It is recommended that women do a baseline thermography image at age 25, and continue to monitor breast health every two years unless otherwise indicated.

Q. Age 25 would seem early to most women to start thinking about their breast health. Why so early?
A. Since women are getting breast cancer at a young age, and especially if their mother had breast cancer, age 25 is a good time to have a baseline image, since no other reliable imaging is available to young women. Theremographic images of the breast are just like "thermal fingerprints", and should stay relatively the same throughout your lifetime.

Q. How is thermography different than mammography which typically starts at age 50?
A. A mammogram is an X-ray, using compression and radiaton in the breasts, and to be somewhat effective, the breasts can`t be dense (which around 50 or later, they lose their density).
Thermography uses an Infrared Camera, which has no radiation or compression, and images the temperature and vascular supply in the breasts. When cancer cells first divide and multiply they usually create their own blood supply, which creates a hot spot in the breast and happens some 5 to 10 years before a lump is large enough to be imaged by any other testing.

Q. What does a consultation cost and what can I expect during the consultation?
A. There is no cost for the consultation; it is included in the price of $250 plus HST along with the imaging. The consultation is usually over the phone for mobile clinics (after the client has received a package from me). During the consult, the report is explained in detail; some important suggestions are made to the client to improve breast health; a pamphlet to teach self examination is included and some coupons to give to a friend for imaging.

Q. If a women has an abnormal thermogram what happens next? What are your recommendations?
A. The report will outline in detail what the next step is: The images are rated from TH-1 (lowest risk) to TH-5 (highest risk). For TH-1 and TH-2 - the follow-up to check the direction of your breast health is 12 months. For TH-3 - (medium risk) the client might be asked to do structural testing (i.e. breast ultrasound) - and the follow-up is usually 6 to 9 months. The recommendations come from the doctors in Toronto who read the images and do the reports - they are certified clinical thermographers.

Early detection is important, but prevention is the key!

A mobile breast thermography clinic will be held on Saturday, March 31st, 2012 at the Benmiller Inn, Goderich. Call Mary at 519-575-6801 or email: to make an appointment.

-Dr. Kate

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