What is Thermography?
Thermography is the measurement of temperature variations at the body surface. When used in a clinical setting, it is an imaging procedure that detects, records, and produces an image (thermogram) of a patient’s skin surface temperatures and/or thermal patterns. The procedure uses equipment that can provide both qualitative and quantitative representations of these temperature patterns. Thermography does not entail the use of ionizing radiation, venous access, or other invasive procedures; therefore, the examination poses no harm to the patient and is completely safe. Clinical thermography is a physiologic imaging technology that provides information on the normal and abnormal functioning of the sensory and sympathetic nervous systems, vascular system, musculoskeletal system, and local inflammatory processes. The procedure also provides valuable diagnostic information regarding dermatologic, endocrine, and breast conditions.
What exactly is the difference between mammography, ultrasound, and thermography?
There seems to be some confusion on this subject by thinking that one test replaces the other. Nothing could be further from the truth. Both mammography and ultrasounds are structural (anatomical) tests, while thermography is a functional (physiological) test. None of these tests are truly diagnostic technologies. Thermography images the breast and surrounding area and provides us with a risk assessment, while mammography and ultrasound detect structural abnormalities. If a breast abnormality is found that could possibly be malignant, a biopsy is performed. A biopsy removes a tissue sample for examination under a microscope.
Many women utilize thermography as a first step in breast health care, as it is non-invasive, radiation free and safe. After their initial assessment with thermography, if there seems to be a medium to high risk assessed, a woman may be asked to follow up either with an ultrasound or mammogram or both to rule out any existing pathology.
Frequently, some will be relieved that their mammogram or ultrasound test results show no abnormal findings, however this does not necessarily mean that nothing is going on with their breasts. Several other factors may be contributing to a high risk (abnormal) thermogram, such as: hormonal imbalance, early angiogenesis (proliferation of blood vessels), lymphatic swellings and poor function and other contributing factors – all these are important contributors to breast disease and malignancy and are not detected by mammography or ultrasound as these factors do not appear as structural changes.
The following is a list comparing all three types of tests with their pros and cons:
What is CACT?
The Canadian Association of Clinical Thermography is Canada’s premier infrared medical thermography association, ensuring the highest quality and standards of practice.
CACT is determined to make thermography a recognized go-to imaging tool to improve health care for individual seekers and for practitioners’ patient care.
As a Canadian association, our aim is not only to educate the Canadian public, but to also demonstrate Canadian leadership in this field, around the globe.
How do we accomplish these objectives?
Meet the Board
Our Board of Directors serve the membership in deciding policy, conducting governance, and keeping the organization effective in pursuing our key mission. Together and with input from all members, they make the policy to govern CACT, set the budget and priorities of the organization, and develop strategic plans to meet CACT’s goals.
DHMS, CTT, CTM
M.Ed., CTT, CTM
Assistant to BOD