Republished with permission from EXPLORE! Publishing, 928 541-1920
or 800 320-6035, P.O. Box 11510, Prescott, AZ 86304
Cancer cells are different than healthy cells. For one, they use a lot
more sugar. For another, they give off a lot more heat.
Chemical and blood vessel activity in the area surrounding a developing
breast cancer is almost always higher than in the normal breast. Cancer
cells need an abundant supply of nutrients to maintain their growth and
this increased blood flow can increase the surface temperatures of the
breast. When a tumor is forming, it develops its own blood supply to feed
its accelerated growth, a process known as malignant angiogenesis. Pre-cancerous
tissues can start this process well in advance of the cells becoming malignant.
Thermography measures the skin’s autonomic response to that inflammation
– its “heat signature”.
The technology converts infrared radiation emitted from the skin surface
into electrical impulses that are visualized in color. The spectrum of
colors indicates an increase or decrease in the amount of infrared radiation
being emitted from the body surface.
Professionals look for asymmetry in the heat pattern. In other words, how
might one breast differ from another?
This patient was age 37 when her first baseline thermogram showed a slight
hyperthermic asymmetry in the upper right breast. The follow-up 3 months
later shows the pattern had become more well defined. A third thermogram
shows significant changes. Mammography was performed at this stage; the
mammographic findings were inconclusive. The fifth comparative thermographic
study at 12 months shows the temperature differential (hyperthermic asymmetry)
A repeat mammogram was performed which clearly showed a small calcification
(1 mm) at one o’clock. Within one week a lumpectomy had been performed
with good margins and the pathology confirmed as a malignant carcinoma (DCIS). 
The August 2007 issue of
Radiology bemoans the growing number of mammography centers across the United States
that are closing down. Radiologists blame low reimbursement from the insurance
companies and a frightening degree of liability.
With mammograms, the false negative reading rates (not detecting cancers)
range from 10% to 40%.
According to the 2002 Breast Cancer Study, issued by the Physician Insurers
Association of America (PIAA), internists were named in 7% of the surveyed
failure-to-diagnose breast cancer suits brought during the 1990s. Family
physicians were named in 11% of cases and gynecologists in 29%. Radiologists
topped the list, however, being named in 40% of all failure-to-diagnose
breast cancer claims.
That observation has not been lost on future generations of radiologists,
many of whom are avoiding mammography.
Mammography has not proved to be a flawless screening tool. It has a difficult
time giving a good reading in women with dense breasts. It exposes women
year after year to radiation. As every woman knows who has undergone one,
it hurts to have breast tissue squished between two pieces of metal. And
there is the argument that compressing cancerous tissue will just spread
Researchers have long warned that the compressive force used to obtain
useable mammograms may be a contributing factor to breast cancer:
The British standard for the force used to squeeze the breast as flat as
possible corresponds to placing twenty 1 kilogram bags of sugar on each
breast. Researchers [at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland] fear that
this force may be excessive and enough to dislocate and spread any existing
cancer cells. Animal experiments have shown that the number of cancer
sites can increase by as much as 80% when tumors are manipulated mechanically.
A recent study in Malmo, Sweden found that the death rate from breast
cancer among women under 55 was 29% higher in a group which had been screened
with mammography than in the unscreened control group. 
There is mounting evidence that the x-rays from repeated mammograms induce
cancer. Dr. John W. Gofman, an authority on the health effects of ionizing
radiation, estimates that 75 percent of breast cancer could be prevented
by avoiding or minimizing exposure to the ionizing radiation. This includes
mammography, x-rays and other medical and dental sources. 
“Since a mammogram is basically an x-ray (radiation) of the breast,
I do not recommend mammograms to my patients for two reasons: 1) Few radiologists
are able to read mammogams correctly, therefore limiting the procedure’s
effectiveness. Even the man who developed this technique stated on national
television that only about six radiologists in the United States could
read them correctly. 2) In addition, each time the breasts are exposed
to an x-ray, the risk of breast cancer increases by 2 percent.” 
What other options are there?
Digital mammography is a mammography system in which x-ray film is replaced
by solid-state detectors that convert x-rays into electric signals. Radiologists
find that, like mammograms, it also produces many false positives.
Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is another option. In younger women,
this approach offers two advantages: the lack of ionizing radiation and
the capability for enhanced imaging of dense breasts. However, this mode
has a very high false-positive rate, is expensive, and requires specialized
apparatus should a biopsy be necessary.
Thermography is a non-invasive, fifteen minute test. It does not use radiation,
does not compress breast tissue, and it is better than mammography at
early detection of breast function abnormalities. It has a lot going for
it. So why is thermography not more widely practiced?
Thermography debuted in the 1970s as a modern technique, but it was actually
first mentioned by Hippocrates in 480 BC. A slurry of mud was spread over
the patient. Those areas which dried first were presumed to be “hot”
and to indicate pathology of the organs underlying them. In the 1800s,
William Herschel was the first to recognize that “dark heat”
was emitted and that it behaved like light, could be both reflected and
refracted under the right circumstances. His son, John, made an image
using solar radiation, focusing the sun’s rays onto a suspension
of carbon particles in alcohol. He called this image a “thermogram”.
Sensitive healers have been able to detect this heat signature using their
own body sensors for thousands of years.
In the 1950s, the military began to use infrared monitoring systems to
follow night time troop movements. In 1956, Ray Lawson, MD published a
brief article describing a thermocouple device which he used in cases
of suspected breast cancer as a diagnostic tool. He found an increased
temperature signature of between 3.5º and 1.3º in a series of
patients with subsequently proven breast cancer. 
When the technology was in its infancy, “eyeballing” the images
was the only way to detect abnormalities or asymmetries, and controls
and protocols were not always followed. It is little surprise, then, that
an article published in
CA, A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, concluded, “We have found little evidence to indicate that clinical
thermography lowers the stage at detection, and neither does a positive
thermogram in screening seem to have a strong predictive value.”
 When the thermogram was thought to have given a “false positive”,
in other words, the thermogram was positive but no tumor was found, this
finding was interpreted to mean that the test was inaccurate.
These early researchers were looking for a tool which would be capable
of diagnosing breast cancer. What they apparently failed to realize is
that thermography will never be capable of diagnosing breast cancer –
that it is only under the microscope that cancer can actually be diagnosed.
Thermography is a functional test, measuring a heat signature produced
by increased vascularity. This may be due to cancer, but it may also be
due simply to inflammation without cancer. Mammography cannot diagnose
cancer either – it can only diagnose a physical or structural abnormality.
The advantage of the thermogram is that we can measure inflammation at
an early stage – perhaps even before cancer (a disease of inflammation)
has a chance to develop.
In 1972, a position paper was published by the Department of Health, Education
and Welfare, in which was stated that thermography was a viable method
as a diagnostic procedure in the area of pathology of the human breast.
In 1982, the FDA published its approval and classification of thermography
as an adjunctive diagnostic screening procedure for the detection of breast cancer.
In the 1990s, significant work was done by the military, in an effort to
translate their work with infra-red imaging into the medical field. [7,8]
The Breast Cancer Detection and Demonstration Project (BCDDP) is a multi-center
study performed from 1973-79, and was aimed at demonstrating whether thermography
could replace mammography or breast examination as a sole screening tool.
Unfortunately, there were significant protocol violations, environmental
controls were ignored, and many of the personnel who collected the data
were untrained in thermography technique, in addition to which there were
no established reading protocols. Thus the data collected were poor, many
of the images were unreadable, and interpretations were seriously open
The more thermograms turned in so-called false positives, the more suspicion
was placed on thermography. Although a decade later many of those “false
positive” women were found to have developed breast cancer, the
establishment had already spoken, declaring thermography a failure.
Meanwhile, the insurance industry had turned against thermography as well.
It is tempting to speculate that it was because juries could clearly see
the physiological component of pain and injury due to car accidents, job
injuries, and a host of other tort related law suits, making it somewhat
more difficult to deny claims related to stress injury.
Eventually, lobbying efforts at the American Medical Association’s
House of Delegates and at Medicare, brought about the removal of thermography
coverage by insurance companies. Thermography was viewed as a competitive
tool to mammography. To this day, the American Cancer Society still promotes
International writings on the subject ask questions about mammography that
we do not see in the American press.
The major, surprising finding of the Canadian National Breast Screening
Study was that there is no evidence that screening for breast cancer with
mammography is effective for women under 50 years of age. Not surprisingly,
this conclusion has been vehemently attacked by American radiologists.
Women in their 40s are the best customers for regular mammograms. As many
as 40% of them have an annual mammogram at a cost of $50-100 each. Now
another study in Sweden supports the Canadian findings. Dr. Lazlo Tabar
followed 35,000 women aged 40-49 for 11 years. He found no evidence that
regular mammographic screening of these women had any benefits. 
A large study of the benefits of mammography screening for breast cancer
was carried out in 2001 by the prestigious Cochrane Institute. The study
questioned the benefits of screening and pointed out that screening could
be harmful in that it frequently leads to over-diagnosis and over-treatment.
The Cochrane Institute has now released the results of a new study aimed
at determining how fairly the benefits and dangers of mammography are
presented on web sites. They evaluated 13 sites maintained by advocacy
groups, 11 maintained by governmental institutions, and 3 maintained by
consumer organizations. They found that all the advocacy group sites accepted
sponsorship from industry without restriction. The close relationship
can perhaps best be summed up in this quote from the Canadian Cancer Society,
“Partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society can assist your company
in reaching your commercial objectives.” The researchers found that
all the governmental agencies and advocacy groups heavily favoured screening
and significantly downplayed the drawbacks; the consumer health organizations
took a much more balanced view. 
Recent advances in technology have brought thermography to the point where
it is now used as one of the diagnostic tools in two cancer research centers
in North America. Today, there are very strict protocols both for testing
and interpreting. Perhaps due to these guidelines, thermography (unlike
digital mammography) has exploded in its technique and capabilities.
The consensus among experts is that early detection of breast cancer holds
the key to survival. If mammography’s look at structure can detect
a cancerous mass, and thermography’s look at systems can detect
early suspicions of cancer formation, then it stands to reason thermography
can act as an early warning system, giving women the fighting chance they
need to win this battle.
Thermography is ideal for women who
- have had cosmetic or reconstructive surgery (implants)
- want to avoid radiation
- have dense breasts
- are pregnant or nursing
Screening – whether by thermogram, mammogram or any other means –
is not diagnosis. Both thermography and mammography demonstrate abnormalities
indicating the possibility of the presence of cancer, as well as a host
of other breast conditions. These clinical findings require differential
diagnosis. Only confirmation of abnormal cell morphology under the microscope
can make the definitive diagnosis of cancer.
Neither thermography nor mammography has 100% accuracy. For that matter,
physical diagnosis (palpation of the breast) is not 100% accurate either.
These tests are the best we have. Any effective tool which does not traumatize
the breast or deliver ionizing (mutating) radiation is far preferable
as a screening tool to one which causes damage while it is screening.
Thermography is useful for evaluating other parts of the body as well.
Thermography is an excellent tool in sports medicine and pain management
because it can map inflammation from neurologic or musculoskeletal dysfunction.
It can also be of assistance in the evaluation of deep vein thrombosis,
insufficiency of the blood supply, and more. We can even see changes in
the area of the abdomen which could indicate inflammatory bowel disease
like colitis, ileitis or Crohn’s disease.
A brief word about cancer:
Cancer is brought on by inflammation, which may be triggered by trauma.
That trauma can take different forms
- Emotional – such as feelings of unworthiness relating to one’s
- Mental – such as our mindset about shame that create ongoing brain
patterns that manifest physically
- Physical – such as a car accident, or other direct trauma to the breast
A thermogram which has only “inflammatory” change should prompt
further testing in the form of a mammogram. No matter what the mammogram
shows, negative or positive, holistic preventive care is appropriate.
The patient is encouraged to visit a practitioner of holistic medicine
who can help reduce the inflammation and possibly head the problem off
at the pass. Inflammatory change will never be seen with mammography,
because it only sees anatomy, not function. A negative mammogram in the
face of a positive thermogram suggests only that cancer has not developed
yet, there is still time for preventive care.
Most cancers are in the body for up to 20 years before they become large
enough to see with our crude methods of testing. Let us not waste those
20 years by hiding our heads in the sand. Let us spend them actively seeking
healthful practices, excellent nutrition, and adequate exercise. Let us
encourage the removal of all toxins from the body – cigarettes,
alcohol, drugs, pharmaceuticals, worry, anxiety, resentment and fear.
And, above all, let us practice gratitude, that our lives may be abundantly
full and joyful. Then inflammation will decrease on all levels, and health
will be restored.
“But breast cancer runs in my family, so I will get it too.”
Not necessarily. If trauma, stress, and lack of good nutrition culminate
in disease, then where is the weak spot? Where is the body most likely
to break down? If breast cancer runs in the family, then indeed, a person
may develop breast cancer. If arthritis, another inflammatory immune system
disorder, runs in the family, another person may develop joint problems
instead. If a person takes better than average care of herself, mentally
and physically, she may not fall prey to breast cancer even though it
runs in the family. There may be an inherited a pre-disposition, but that
does not necessarily mean that it
The Susan G. Komen Foundation funded a study released in May, 2007, that
essentially found that our increasingly polluted and toxic environment
is much to blame for the rise in cancer. As reported in the press: 
More than 200 chemicals – many found in urban air and everyday consumer
products – cause breast cancer in animal tests, according to a compilation
of scientific reports published today.
Writing in a publication of the American Cancer Society, researchers concluded
that reducing exposure to the compounds could prevent many women from
developing the disease.
The research team from five institutions analyzed a growing body of evidence
linking environmental contaminants to breast cancer, the leading killer
of U.S. women in their late 30s to early 50s.
Experts say that family history and genes are responsible for a small percentage
of breast cancer cases but that environmental or lifestyle factors such
as diet are probably involved in the vast majority.
In other words, environmental toxins continually pollute the body. Our
natural detoxification systems work less efficiently over time. More free
radicals are formed, damaging our DNA. The stage is set for disease.
Thermography is a screening tool which can help raise suspicions of breast
cancer at an early stage, when there is still chance of complete cure.
Established patients can simply call to make an appointment for a thermogram.
New patients who wish to have thermography are evaluated medically first,
before having the test. Other patients may be referred just for a thermogram
by their regular physician, to whom we will send a report.
Q & A
Q – How can thermography detect potential cancers so many years earlier
A – When a tumor is forming, it develops its own blood supply to
feed its accelerated growth, a process known as malignant angiogenesis.
Pre-cancerous tissues can start this process well in advance of the cells
Q – You recommend that if the thermogram suggests cancerous tissue
may be present, that one follow up with a mammogram. Why?
A – Because thermography is a functional test, mammography is an
anatomic test. If the functional test is suspicious, then you want to
look at the anatomy. Often times, thermography catches breast cancer sooner
than it can be felt by palpation. Mammography can look for a mass that
is still too small to be felt. Even mammography considers a “small”
tumor to be 2 cm in diameter (1 inch = 2.5 cm), which is a large mass
of cells. So if we see something suspicious on a thermogram, the risk
of x-rays and compression is a risk worth taking , because we may be able
to see a much smaller tumor. Using mammography in this way means exposing
yourself to x-rays and compression only when absolutely necessary, rather
than routinely year after year.
Q – What happens during the test?
A – For instructions on how to prepare for a thermography exam,
 American College of Clinical Thermography. Accessed August 2007 at
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Disease, C.N.R. Book Division, Committee for Nuclear Responsibility, Inc.,
San Francisco, 1999
Francisco Contreras, MD; The Hope of Living Cancer Free, Creation House, 1999, page 104 Lawson R. Implications of Surface Temperatures
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Moskowitz M. Screening for Breast Cancer: How Effective Are Our Tests?
A Critical Review. CA Cancer J Clin 1983;33:26039. Diakides NA. Medical
Applications of IR Focal Plane Arrays, – Final rept. Advanced Concepts
Analysis Inc Falls Church Va. NTIS report # ARO-32870.1- EL-S. Paul
JL, Lupo JC. From tanks to tumors. Engineering in Medicine and Biology
Magazine, IEEE 21;6:34-36 (Nov-Dec 2002). Charlotte Gray, US resistance
to Canadian mammogram study not only about data, Canadian Medical Association
Journal, Vol. 148, No. 4, February 15, 1993, pp. 622-23 Jorgensen,
KJ and Gotzsche, PC. Presentation on websites of possible benefits and
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Common chemicals are linked to breast cancer, Los Angeles Times, May 14, 2007