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Screening for Breast Cancer

Isaac Eliaz, M.D., L.Ac., M.S.

Mammography has been the “gold standard” for detection of breast cancer, and with fears of breast cancer taking the forefront in many women’s minds today, the medical industry continues to push the use of mammography for prevention and early detection of this deadly disease. But we need to take a closer look at this concept.

Mammography does not prevent breast cancer, but the earlier breast cancer is detected, the greater the woman’s chances of survival. That much is clear. However, mammographic x-rays fail to detect as much as 20 percent of breast cancer in women over 50, and as much as 40 percent in younger women.

The value of mammography is in its ability to detect masses as well as tiny calcifications that are often present in an area of abnormal tissue. These calcium deposits often appear at sites of chronic inflammation, which can be a precursor to cancer. Other detection methods do not show these microcalcifications.

Thermography is another non invasive, 100-percent safe procedure that registers the infrared heat waves omitted from the breasts, and can be useful in the early detection of abnormal physiological patterns that can suggest breast cancer. Many physicians prefer to use Thermography as an ongoing imaging procedure for early detection, as well as a way to assess their treatment protocol.

For younger women with dense breast tissue, mammography is much less accurate than later in life when breast density is reduced. Thermography can play a valuable role because women can start Thermographic screening in their 20’s and 30’s as a baseline which can be compared with their results as they age.

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