Breast thermography is a 15 minute non invasive test of physiology. It is a valuable procedure for alerting your doctor to changes that can indicate early stage breast disease.
The benefit of breast thermography is that it offers the opportunity of earlier detection of breast disease than has been possible through breast self examination, doctor examination or mammography alone.
Thermography can detect the subtle physiologic changes that accompany breast pathology, whether it is cancer, fibrocystic disease, an infection or a vascular disease. Your doctor can then plan accordingly and lay out a careful program to further diagnose and /or MONITOR you during and after any treatment.
Good thermal symmetry with no suspicious vascular patterns or significant thermal findings.
BMC Med Imaging. 2014; 14: 41.
Jimmy Okello, Harriet Kisembo, Sam Bugeza, and Moses Galukande
Mammography, the gold standard for breast cancer screening misses some cancers, especially in women with dense breasts. Breast ultrasonography as a supplementary imaging tool for further evaluation of symptomatic women with mammographically dense breasts may improve the detection of mass lesions otherwise missed at mammography.
The purpose of this study was to determine the incremental breast cancer detection rate using US scanning in symptomatic women with mammographically dense breasts in a resource poor environment.
A cross sectional descriptive study. Women referred for mammography underwent bilateral breast ultrasound, and mammography for symptom evaluation. The lesions seen by both modalities were described using sonographic BI-RADS lexicon and categorized. Ultrasound guided core biopsies were performed. IRB approval was obtained and all participants provided informed written consent.
In total 148 women with mammographically dense breasts were recruited over six months. The prevalence of breast cancer in symptomatic women with mammographically dense breasts was 22/148 (15%). Mammography detected 16/22 (73%) of these cases and missed 6/22 (27%). The six breast cancer cases missed were correctly diagnosed on breast ultrasonography. Sonographic features typical of breast malignancy were irregular shape, non-parallel orientation, non circumscribed margin, echogenic halo, and increased lesion vascularity (p values < 0.005). Typical sonofeatures of benign mass lesions were: oval shape, parallel orientation and circumscribed margin (p values <0.005).
Breast ultrasound scan as a supplementary imaging tool detected 27% more malignant mass lesions otherwise missed by mammography among these symptomatic women with mammographically dense breasts. We recommend that ultra sound scanning in routine evaluation of symptomatic women with mammographically dense breasts.
Forbes/ Pharma & Healthcare | Elaine Schattner | FEB 16, 2015 @ 07:00 AM
It’s hard to understand opposition to screening middle-aged women for breast cancer. Mammography finds tumors early in over 80 percent of cases. The question is how to make the process safer, more accurate and efficient.
The optimal screening program should include ultrasound for women with dense breasts. The sound-wave test is good for detecting invasive cancers that are otherwise hard-to-spot in cloudy mammograms of dense breasts. The procedure should be covered by insurance and provided by expert radiologists who specialize in breast imaging.
The latest fuss about breast cancer screening has to do with this very issue. Some radiologists suggest it’s inadvisable or impractical to inform all women with dense breasts that an ultrasound might help clarify their cancer status, to know if they’re clear. Just last week, a perspective in a prestigious medical journal came down on legislation that would assure women have this information. The physician authors emphasize the role of “grassroots organizations and laypeople” in the push for women’s access to information about their breasts and supplemental studies.
The benefits of breast ultrasound – compared to other methods of breast cancer screening – are several. First, there’s no radiation. Zip. The sound-wave test is like an echocardiogram (to image the heart) or a sonogram many have while pregnant to check the fetus’s beating heart and developing limbs. In itself, ultrasound is safe and essentially harmless (without a biopsy, see below). And it’s inexpensive, especially as things go in radiology.
Courtesy of GE Healthcare: In the left panel, an ultrasound image obtained with GE’s Automated Breast Ultrasound (ABUS) system reveals a dark spot in the lower left breast (where thin blue and green “crosshair” lines meet) consistent with an invasive malignancy. In the right panel, a standard mammographic image of the same breast shows dense tissue with non-specific calcifications.
Low cost may be part of ultrasound’s problem – why some radiologists don’t favor mandatory notification. Today CMS pays in the range of $108 to $200 for bilateral breast ultrasound including fees for the doctor’s interpretation. Rates vary, depending on where the procedure is done. Typical reimbursement is around $150. The same government service pays around $540 for bilateral breast MRIs with interpretation.