I’m very pleased to introduce Caitlin Wells, Certified Medical Thermography Technician, to my thrivers. Caitlin is going to share some information about thermography – thermal imaging – and how it can be beneficial for determining breast health.
Hi, I’m Caitlin Wells, a Certified Medical Thermography Technician. I am happily married to the love of my life and we have two kids between us, two boys ages 12 and 14. We make our home in the lovely city of Cincinnati, Ohio in the US, but we love to travel the world together as often as we can. Today, I have the pleasure of sharing with you a painless, no contact, radiation-free health screening tool that can empower you with knowledge you need to not only survive, but thrive! It was through my own health journey, my holistic work with clients as a Licensed Medical Massage Therapist, and my father’s passing from cancer in 2010 that brings me to the work I do today. It is my passion to help others get the best information possible for their bodies and support them in living their most vibrant lives possible.
Thermography uses state of the art infrared camera equipment and the latest in interpretation by a star team of clinical thermologists to give you an incredible perspective of your body that can enable you to be very proactive in your health journey. Thermographic imaging can be used as and indicator for breast health, thyroid screening, lymphatic congestion and more. Our bodies are ready to show us the way – let’s get started!
What is Medical Thermography?
Thermography is a state of the art tool that specifically measures heat and blood flow in the body with finely calibrated thermal cameras and complex computer analysis by experts in the field, clinical thermologists. Simply put, it measures the surface temperature of your body and shows patterns of heat via a very accurate digital image. These patterns may indicate abnormal conditions in the body. Thermography is a physiological screening and is significantly less invasive than other methods. In the USA, thermography is FDA cleared to be an adjunctive screening to a mammogram aiding in the detection of breast cancer.
It is a very reliable and accurate screening tool that gives precise and objective thermal data. The information can be used for successful diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis. Thermograms are completely painless, non-invasive, and take less than 15 minutes to get all the images needed. Once the images are taken, then are then sent to an interpretation team of clinical thermologists, who will return the images to you, together with a full written report.
New Blood Vessels Forming. Thermography screening is particularly good for assessing active areas of angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels. Angiogenesis plays a critical role in the growth of cancer because a tumor needs a blood supply if it is to grow beyond a few millimeters in size. Tumors can actually cause this blood supply to form by giving off chemical signals that stimulate angiogenesis. The resulting new blood vessels bring heat by way of more blood flow as well as oxygen and nutrients to a tumor to allow it to grow.
Patterns of Inflammation. Breast thermography can also pick up inflammation associated with developing tumors and inflammatory forms of breast cancer. “Some authorities have postulated that nitric oxide is emitted from the developing cancer and can be picked up as a GLOW on thermal imaging.” (as in the photo above).
Abnormal Vascular & Lymphatic Patterns. It is also possible to see abnormal vascular and lymphatic patterns in inverse grayscale imaging. In your report, you will receive your images in both greyscale and the rainbow palette. It is key to have both.
Unusual Heat Patterns. Breast tissue does not normally generate much heat. Healthy breast tissue appears blue and green in thermography. This indicates very low heat levels. Red, orange, or yellow areas over the breast or also small points of “focal hyperthermia” on the image may indicate that the area should be looked at more closely. The body naturally has symmetry of heat on both sides. Areas without symmetry can indicate problems and are measured and analyzed for underlying issues.
These measurements are tracked over time. The first session of thermography gives a baseline reading. A second scan is typically recommended 3 to 6 months later to test for any changes. After these initial two patterns are compared, it is recommended to receive annual thermograms to chart subtle changes in the vascular patterns and blood flow.
Thermography is wonderful tool to use to track progress. Even if you’ve undergone treatment or are in the middle of it, thermography can be helpful in tracking improvement, not just the possible presence of disease. This is what I would like women to understand about it as well.
Dental Thermography and Systemic Disease
Some dentists have long claimed a relationship between oral bacteria and breast cancer, as well as other systemic diseases. The pictures just below indicate how toxic material and bacteria spread through the lymphatic (immune) system and can enter the breast. In this case the back pressure from the inflammation is forcing the fluid into makeshift channels. This case example is one of many that show the importance of the whole body relationship. Full body thermography can give valuable information not only for the breast but the whole body through the mapping of skin surface temperatures. These temperature plots can be used by the doctor to analyze trends in temperature in the body. – Breast Thermography International
Research and Brief History
Thermography has been studied in detail for over 30 years. It has roots that date back to Hippocrates in 300 BC and to date, the database of thermography includes upwards of 250,000 women who have been study participants. These studies are large, with long durations and have shown an average sensitivity and specificity of 90%. Research has shown that the main mechanism of all degenerative disease is inflammation. Most medical tests looks for disease processes that are already present. They are looking for the effect rather than at the underlying cause. More and more health care practitioners are using new methods and technology that seeks to understand the physiological abnormalities in the body. Thermography is considered complementary care at this time, outside the standard of care in the US but it is often covered by insurance plans in other countries.
How Mammograms are Different from Thermography
Mammograms are an anatomical screening of the breast and looks at density of tissue, “lumps and bumps.” Thermograms look at heat and blood flow, analyzing the vascular changes in the breast. Increases of blood into certain areas of the body raises the heat of that particular area. Areas of inflammation, cancer cell formation and active infection have elevations in circulation. Thermal imaging has a great ability to detect subtle physiological changes that accompany pathology.
Unlike mammograms, thermography equipment does not give off harmful ionizing radiation. Thermography uses infrared technology that is completely safe. However, it must be said that thermography is one screening tool among many ways to support you in getting information about your body. It is not meant to be a stand alone screening. Always use as many resources you can to find out what you need to be in your highest state of health and wellness. With no compression, thermography can be a screening device for women with dense breast tissue, breast implants, small breasts and women who have undergone mastectomy.
Final Thoughts about Thermography and How to Find Me
If you are in the Cincinnati, Ohio, northern Kentucky area of the US, you can visit my lab locations there. I also travel to do educational events, provide screenings and connect with other wellness practitioners who would like to partner in providing this valuable screening for themselves and their clients. I have a wide network and I’d be happy to connect you with a qualified Thermography Technician in your area as well. I can be reached through my facebook page: www.facebook.com/caitlinwellsctt
Be sure to visit my booking link for service descriptions, pricing and convenient online scheduling: www.caitlin-wells-ctt.genbook.com
Wishing you vibrant wellness and leave you now with the hope that you are living your technicolor life! Thank you!
THANK YOU, Caitlin, for the helpful description and background information on thermal imaging, one of my favorite methods for determining the health of the breast. Your passion for your work shines through! For more information on thermography, see my other articles.
- United Breast Cancer Foundation Breast Thermography
- Head JF, Wang F, Elliott RL. Breast thermography is a noninvasive prognostic procedure that predicts tumor growth rate in breast cancer patients. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1993 Nov 30;698:153-8. PMID: 8279754
- Institute for the Advancement of Medical Thermology
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