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Dr. Carrie Jones: Breast Thermography - Another Approach to Healthy Breasts

By Expert HERWriter
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As women, we are well aware of mammograms and ultrasounds. We know to do self-breast exams every month and routine screenings begin at age 40, sometimes earlier depending on family or personal history. We know to feel for lumps, bumps, pain, skin changes, and generally anything that is out of the ordinary for our breast tissue when doing our own exams.

What about including Breast Thermography?

This imaging uses a digital infrared camera to see the metabolic and circulatory activity within your breasts by relying on surface temperature.

The pictures produced are color coded in that a “hot” or very active site is bright red, while a “cool” site is blue/green. Cancerous lesions require its own blood supply and nutrients to grow; therefore it promotes angiogenesis which is the growth of new blood vessels from old blood vessels just re-routed. This swarm of new blood vessels carries a degree of heat to them that show up on the breast thermography as red areas. Because angiogenesis happens early, very tiny cancerous spots or pre-cancerous conditions may be detected much sooner.

Breast Thermography does not use radiation nor does it require compression or direct contact with the breasts. It has been approved by the FDA since 1983 for the adjunct screening of breast cancer. Thermography does not look at anatomy or structure like a mammogram. It will not find an actual mass or lump, but it will detect changes in breast temperature as related to angiogenesis and/or hormone shifts to the tissue. If you are considering a breast thermogram, remember it should be used in conjunction with a mammogram.

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EmpowHER Guest

I was diagnosed January 7, '09, with DCIS in left breast. The "cause," as
I believe it to be, was shocking to me: 26 years prior, my first husband
wanted me to have a breast augmentation. After three years, we moved to
NYC where I sought out the most lauded cosmetic surgeon I could find. I
begged him to remove everything. He said I was so young, and that I would
look a soggy mess. He said, "I'll make a deal with you. I'll leave only the smallest saline pouch - ONE - in each breast."

Not being a fan of mammograms for personal reasons, I never worried too
much about the tiny saline pouches, until last December ('08), when a very
constant, harsh burning sensation persisted under my left nipple.

I made an appt. with my GYN, who thought she felt a BB-sized mass -- most
likely a microcalcification. On January 4, I had my first mammogram in over 20 years, which, to my utter amazement, proved the implants placed 23 before were not saline but SILICONE; AND the implants (especially in
left breast where cancer was cited)had not only ruptured but leaked way up under my arm and up under my collar bone!

For the last two years particularly, I had suffered badly from what now
is absolutely considered an "insulted" immune system. No one caught it until my acupuncturist put 2 + 2 together. I had experienced amazing adult
acne/rosacea; repeated outbreaks of shingles on my left hip; Bell's palsy
as a reaction to an antibiotic prescribed by the same dermatologist who
didn't think the shingles merited more concern than as many repeated prescriptions for Valtrex.

The acupuncturist looked under my tongue and was fairly aghast at the dark\inky color of thick veins. She remarked that she'd never seen a "healthy" person actually walking around leading a normal life with that
telling symptom. I asked her: "What do you mean?" She replied that, in her
experience, that characteristic was reserved only for heart attack/stroke
victims or people with grave diseases.

If she had not pronounced this so emphatically in October/November '08, I
might have not been so alert to the burning under my left nipple in December.

On January 29, '09, I had a wide excision; although the surgeon referred to it as a "lumpectomy," there WAS no actual lump and so this never resonated well with me. From mammograms done earlier that month, the
radiologist ascertained that there was a small sliver of malignancy on the
left rim of my left breast, but ASSURED me that the other "galaxy" of bright microcalcifications were benign. WRONG.

The surgeon removed cancer cells right up to the margin, meaning no clean
margins, meaning "dirty" margins. 3 weeks later, I developed MRSA staph
infection and nearly never came up for air.

Two weeks ago, I received post-op mammograms that showed five almost invisible spots - "very much more powdery than the pre-op galaxy" - and
yet my surgeon seems eager that the only way to ultimately ensure my safety and prevention of recurrence is to do bi-lateral mastectomy and
reconstruction including dorsal latissimal back flap removal for aiding
in more natural reconstruction. This is a very invasive/radical surgery,
despite the fact that renegade silicone no longer exists between my skin
and lining protection internal organs. My immune system is no longer insulted: no acne, no shingles, no Bell's palsy, no implants I didn't intend to sign up for in the first place.

Radiologist who first analzyed most recent mammograms said she did not
know what she would do in my place, although to say so went against her
A-Z nature. My surgeon, on the other hand, believed the powdery spots were
an ominous sign; coupled with the fact that he'd not gotten clean margins
in the January excision, he still firmly believed/believes bi-lat mast. the only reasonable assurance for prolonging my life without cancer.

So without telling anyone, I went out to Phoenix last week and had a breast thermography. Waiting for results possibly tomorrow. In the meantime,have discovered facilities available in Tulsa - much nearer to my
home. p.s. My reason for going to Phoenix was two-fold, but no matter.

I, like so many of you with DCIS, am reluctant to think I must be taken
apart to be put back together without being in harm's way. So I wait for
results, and hope the report will show the 5 spots to be "cool." That in
itself would make a case for me to postpone the Big Cut. Meanwhile, I am
ordering Essiac Tea from the original source in Canada, plus taking 3 drops, 3 times daily, of Liquid Zeolite which should only be purchased from WAIORA in Arizona.

p.s Neither my GYN (female) nor my surgeon blinked when I asked whether I
shouldn't stop taking PremPro - estrogen replacement therapy - given that
my cancer is estrogen receptor positive, i.e., it FEEDS on estrogen. Holy
moly. To be continued. . .

June 4, 2009 - 4:50pm
(reply to Anonymous)

Thank you for your comments. I'm hoping for the best for you, too. Please do come back and share your results with us. I'm sure your experience will be very informative to others who may be concerned about their silicone implants.

June 4, 2009 - 5:52pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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