Thermography, Mammography or Ultrasound?

One of the most frequent questions I am asked as a clinical thermographer is:
“What exactly is the difference between mammography, ultrasound and thermography?” There seems to be some confusion on this subject by
thinking that one replaces the other as tests, nothing could be further from the truth. Both mammography and ultrasound are structural (anatomical)
tests, while thermography is a functional (physiological) test. None of these tests are truly diagnostic technologies.
Thermography images the breast and surrounding area and provides us with risk assessment, while mammography and ultrasound detect structural abnormalities. If a breast abnormality is found that could possibly be malignant, a biopsy is performed. A biopsy removes a tissue sample for
examination under a microscope.

Many women after their initial assessment with thermography may be asked to follow up either with an ultrasound or mammogram or both to rule
out the existing pathology. Frequently some will be relieved that their mammogram or ultrasound test results show no abnormal findings, however
this does not necessarily mean that nothing is going on with their breasts. Several other factors may be contributing to a high risk (abnormal)
thermogram, such as: hormonal imbalance, early angiogenesis (proliferation of blood vessels), lymphatic swellings and poor function and other
contributing factors – all of these are important contributors to breast disease and malignancy and are not detected by mammography or
ultrasound as these factors do not appear as structural changes.

The following is a list comparing all three types of tests with their pros and cons:

Mammography

Ultrasound

Thermography

Of course everyone has heard by now that early detection prolongs life expectancy, this is a given. However if cancer has been detected early,
it would mean that you already have cancer. Prevention should take precedence over detection. Prevention means not getting cancer in the first place.
If we are going to reverse the present trend of the epidemic proportion of breast cancer, we need to come up with a more proactive approach,
which needs to become the norm for patient assessment. Cancer starts with one abnormal cell, and it takes nearly 8 years for that one abnormal cell to replicate to one billion cells. One billion cells produce a detectable lump that is one centimeter in size. This is the size of a lump that can be seen on a mammogram. This is not an early finding.

Every woman should know her risk for breast cancer. With proper risk assessment that includes different testing modalities, the patient is able to
determine her risk factors and develop an action plan on how to improve the breast tissue or even reverse the existing trend. The current screening
strategy is not enough to protect women from breast cancer. Medical infrared imaging should be added to every woman's regular breast health care.