Thermography does not require a doctor’s referral. While traditional mammogram prep basically restricts patients from wearing deodorant or powder beforehand, thermograms carry a list of 14 pre-test suggestions/requirements. Those range from no fake tans, lotions and bruises to avoiding saunas, exercise and fevers.
Geared to last a mere 30 minutes, the thermography procedure, which is a spin-off of satellite technology, takes place in a calming atmosphere – with a camera that is far less intimidating than most elementary school Picture Day set-ups.
Thermography patients provide a brief interview and family history for their technician, geared to thorough disclosure about cancers, menstrual cycles, and any symptoms or apparent changes. This is followed by a 10-minute acclimation process, allowing the patient to adjust in privacy to the room’s temperature, free of any restrictive clothing from the waist up.
The first set of three photos is taken while standing on a rubber mat, four to six feet from the camera. Then, the patient’s hands are dipped into cool water for one minute, with the premise that the hands are the most temperature-sensitive body part. That creates a physiological basis for bodily temperature comparison. A second set of photos follows.
“At no time does anyone touch you, nor is there any physical discomfort by squeezing or equipment,” said the middle-aged female patient undergoing the test. Within a half hour, she is on her way again.
If the patient has no insurance, thermograms cost less than traditional mammograms. However, insurances oddly do not cover thermograms, despite their accuracy comparisons, as well as FDA approval since 1982. Results reach the primary medical provider within a week, to then be read and shared with the patient.
Detecting breast cancer early provides a life-saving head start for a cure. Using thermology helps detect it years in advance of traditional methods and regardless of the patient’s age and other circumstances.
It is notably effective in all types of breasts, no matter the size or density, whether they had implants or reductions, during pregnancy or lactation, or even in those women who’ve undergone lumpectomies or mastectomies or if pre-menopausal.
Birmingham’s Therma-Scan is instrumental in helping people in numerous aspects of receiving healthy assistance. During the 40 years of organization behind it, Therma-Scan’s staff has done a million studies, remaining cutting edge for its 40 network partners across America, utilizing computer connections in the process.
Laboratory Director Dr. Philip Hoekstra III PhD is a veritable font of info when it comes to the procedure as well as the history behind it.
“The importance of heat in medicine dates back to the time of Hippocrates — and ancient Egypt knew about body heat due to battle,” Hoekstra said. “Where there are abnormal amounts of heat or cold in the body, there’re diseases.”
He credits a Canadian gynecologist named Dr. Ray Lawson for publishing the first article connecting a medical application for modern thermography. Lawson’s work used extensive research with breast patterns in Montreal during the mid-1950s.
Much thermographic information was classified by the military, with research on medical applications for infrared imaging slowly emerging. Hoekstra also attributes focus on the shooting down of CIA pilot Francis Gary Powers as leading to U.S. military intelligence making it a priority to study transmissions through cloud cover.
In the meantime, his father, Philip Hoekstra Jr., wrote his own dissertation on the procedures, which immediately became re-classified by the government. It was not unusual to have mysterious government men in black vehicles preview his dad’s arrival home in Detroit from Georgetown or other places, says Hoekstra III. As various alliances occurred during the late 1960s, led by radiology and thermography, thought prevailed about medical use development. The University of Southern California and McGill University took part in it and uneasily shared technologies.
Defenses were up, and as new ideologies evolved, Hoekstra says his dad shared the mantra that emerged: “(Only) steal with your eyes.”
Into the 1970s, there was a basic need to understand the politics and economics of traditional mammography, a change from analog to digital and changing from the old technique of “squint and scratch” — where doctors studied X-rays and scratched themselves accordingly. Analysis took center stage, rather than mere opinion.
The four features that are used with thermography are:
- Pattern recognition
- Quantitative analysis (over time)
- Time-based evolution
- Response to autonomic challenge
Cancer cells differ from others, says Hoekstra, with their blood flow. Their molecular characterization entails nitric oxide, or NO, and they are 100 percent open wide at all times. That presents a unique and challenging fight for the medical industry as well as the patient, as blood continually flows to those areas.
But, thermography has emerged as a new answer for many of the concerns caused with, and by, traditional mammograms.
“Are there some rogues in this area of the field? Yes,’ said Hoekstra. “But, the technique is proven, the benefits are there, and patients need to work with their doctors and take thermography seriously. It’s an important, and proven, preventative measure.”
For more information, go to: http://www.thermascan.com/ or call (248) 593-8700
See Part 1 for more background in thermography.
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