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Did you know that mammograms use ionizing radiation at a dosage which can actually contribute to the development of breast cancer? They expose your body to radiation that can be as much as 1000 times greater than that from a chest x-ray, and we already know chest x-rays pose a cancer risk. And here’s the part that I really hate: mammography also compresses the breast tightly which hurts and is very uncomfortable to say the least. But did you know that this extreme compression can also spread cancerous cells if they already exist?
Here’s what intrigues me and I always wonder if this is the method I should choose to screen for breast cancer. There is an option called thermography, which measures infrared heat radiation emanating from your breast. If there is any inflammation (cancer presents as inflammation), thermography can detect it.
Thermography is not new, it was approved for this use by the FDA in 1982. In 2009, the Journal of Medical Systems and the National Institutes of Health’s Pub Med reported that thermography is 94.8% accurate for detecting breast cancer. In 2017, the same source stated that thermography provides "excellent reliability" for detecting breast cancer (link is below).
If the above statistics are true, this means thermography is nearly twice as effective as mammography! So, it’s more effective, it’s risk-free (no radiation), and there’s instant feedback. My research shows that the cost is not covered by Medicare but some health insurance plans might cover part or all of the cost (the out of pocket cost is in the range of $150-200).
So why do the doctors only promote mammograms? I hardly meet anyone that has even heard of thermography for breast cancer screening. My doctor thinks I'm a nut for even mentioning that I want this test.
To make matters more confusing, when you search "thermography for breast cancer", there are some sources that say it's not effective for breast cancer screening. So who to believe? "Dr. Google" or the Journal of Medical Systems/PubMed?
So dear readers, what are your thoughts?
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