Dr. Rachel's Journey With Breast Thermography
Recently, Dr. Rachel had a series of mammograms. Thankfully everything was clear, and she is healthy as ever! Along with traditional mammograms and ultrasounds she had Digital Infrared Imaging performed at Advanced Thermal Imaging of West Michigan. She was so happy with her experience there she wanted to make sure our patients know about this great option in Grand Rapids. Continue reading to hear Dr. Rachel’s Story.
During my annual gynecologist appointment my doctor suggested that I consider getting a mammogram due to a lump she felt in one of my breasts. She told me not to worry, that it was probably nothing but suggested I get it looked at to be safe. They recently had a young nurse in their office who was diagnosed with breast cancer and were being extra cautious with their younger patients. I thought about it and felt the amount of radiation I would receive from a mammogram wasn’t worth it for me. I was pretty confident that all was OK, and it was most likely just fibrocystic breast tissue.
After talking with a friend, who works at a cancer center, I decided to schedule the mammogram, but I was still reluctant about getting one. I previously worked in an office that provided breast thermography and did some research to see if it was available here in Grand Rapids. I knew that thermography scans could show early signs of cancer even before a mammogram could detect a tumor. I felt confident that if the thermography scan came back normal, I could cancel my mammogram.
Breast thermography uses a procedure called Digital Infrared Imaging (DII). This technology uses advanced high-resolution computerized medical infrared camera systems to detect and analyze thermovascular heat patterns from the surface of the breasts. When cancer is developing it creates new blood vessels to feed its growth, this can also happen in precancerous tissues. The increased blood supply from the cancer cells causes an abnormal heat pattern the DII can detect. These abnormal heat patterns are one of the earliest signs that show cancer may be forming.
DII is a great tool for the prevention of breast cancer. Not only can it identify the early formation of blood vessels, but also it can detect hormonal effects on the breasts. Estrogen dominance is a risk factor for breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancer. Finding these hormonal imbalances allows patients to begin early treatment to balance their hormones. This may slow or even stop the growth of cancer.
Digital Infrared Imaging can also be used to provide an early warning for many health conditions. It is helpful in getting to the root of a problem that is not responding to other treatments. Some of the conditions that produce infrared image signals are breast cancer, diabetes, thyroid diseases, strokes, sports injuries and chronic pain conditions.
After all of my research I decided to have the DII scans done. Julie at Advanced Thermal Imaging was so amazing! She did an excellent job explaining the process and walking me through the procedure. Things always feel less scary to me when I know what to expect so here’s a brief overview of my experience there.
First, I was welcomed in the room and I had to allow my body to acclimate to the room temperature and then few photos were taken. That was it! It was a super quick and painless process. The images were sent to a board-certified doctor to be read. After that, the pictures and the results of the scans were emailed to me within a few weeks.
I received my results from the thermography quickly. Unfortunately, it showed some suspicious activity in my right breast. They recommended that I schedule further testing, or to complete another breast thermography in 6 months. I already had a mammogram scheduled so I decided to go with that option. The results of the initial mammogram showed the same activity as the thermography scan. Next, I was scheduled for a second diagnostic mammogram and an ultrasound to get a better look at the problem area. There were many steps and a lot of waiting but in the end, everything turned out just fine. It was a cyst. No big deal. Thank goodness I am healthy :)
I wanted to share my experience with all of you to show that the Digital Infrared Imaging was very accurate. It showed the same initial results as my first mammogram. Also, I know it can be scary knowing that you need to go in for a mammogram. I was unprepared for the number of tests that were required. I want to let you know that it is normal to have multiple diagnostic procedures completed if there is an abnormal finding.
The process was stressful and looking back, I wish I would have chosen the 6-month thermography scan. Going forward I will continue to do breast thermography scans yearly to see if there are any changes. It is reassuring knowing that I can continue to monitor my health without introducing unnecessary radiation to my body.
I am grateful we have this service offered here in Grand Rapids. If this is something you are interested in you can contact Julie Bennett, CTT at 616-724-6368 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check out their website at https://www.advancedthermalimagingllc.com for more information.
Rise & Shine,
-Dr. Rachel Babbitt