If you’re a woman, then you’ve likely already heard about breast cancer. This disease is devastating when caught too late, but it can get treated when diagnosed early on.
Most health care providers offer mammograms as a breast cancer screening option. Recently, thermography has drawn a lot of attention. What is this screening method? Read on to get all the details.
1. Thermography Is FDA Approved
How does a thermogram work? Thermography is a test that records temperature changes on the skin’s surface. An infrared thermal camera takes a picture of the breast, and a heat map gets formed.
What can thermography detect? The heat map reveals vascular changes in breast tissue. It’s an FDA-approved test that can assist in the detection of breast cancer.
2. Mammograms Are More Conclusive Than Thermography
Despite being FDA approved, the FDA has several warnings about thermography. Mammography is another FDA approved method of screening for breast cancer.
If you’re having a mammogram versus thermography debate, then the FDA recommends mammography. Why? According to the federal agency:
- Mammograms are more effective
- There’s insufficient evidence to recommend thermography alone for breast cancer screenings
- High false-positive and false-negative rates with thermography
In summary, thermography is useful and approved, but the government favors mammograms.
3. The FDA Has Warned Thermography Manufacturers About Misleading Patients
Recently, more holistic health care providers have touted the benefits of thermography. In response, the FDA has had to issue several warnings to practitioners.
Thermography manufacturers have also received FDA warning letters. What’s going on?
The FDA believes some providers and manufacturers are misleading their patients. They want to make it clear that thermography isn’t an alternative to mammography.
It’s worrisome that patients who get thermography may rely on the results and fail to get a mammogram. Even worse, some patients believe thermographs can detect cancer years in advance.
The FDA hasn’t found any evidence to support such claims.
4. Thermography Doesn’t Involve Radiation
While the FDA doesn’t, many patients prefer thermograms over mammograms. Why? Here are some of the advantages of thermography:
- No exposure to radiation (a side-effect of mammograms)
- No compression of the breast
- Compatible with women who have implants or dense breast tissue
These advantages make thermography very attractive to women seeking a screening.
5. Thermography Scans Aren’t Usually Covered by Insurance
It’s recommended that women over 50 receive breast cancer screenings every two years. Insurance often covers the costs of a mammogram. Thermogram tests are not usually covered by insurance.
How much does a thermogram cost? On average, a patient can expect to pay about $150-200 for a breast thermogram.
Is Thermography Right for You?
So, is this type of breast cancer screening right for you? These five key facts about thermography will help you make an informed decision.
Have you recently gotten diagnosed with breast cancer? Such news can be overwhelming and draining. Take the time to consider these tips for fighting breast cancer. We’re rooting for you during your fight!