Breast Cancer Feels The Heat

By: Dr. Linda Fickes
Special to the
Oahu Island News

One in 48 Caucasian women in Honolulu are currently being treated for breast cancer, according to the National Institutes of Health. There is a new, safe and accurate means of early detection now available in Honolulu to help decrease these numbers: breast thermography. Thermography uses an infrared camera to read the heat-emitting patterns of the body. Breast thermography can detect precancerous heat patterns up to 10 years before a shape can be detected by mammogram. In other words, thermography reads the heat and activity of the cells, instead of reading shapes like a mammogram does. When the first sign of breast cancer is detected by thermography, survival rate increases 61 percent.

Thermography is 88 percent accurate for early diagnosis of breast disease for people of all ages, even those with breast implants. There is also no health risk, compression or radiation.

In comparison, mammograms are only 19 percent accurate for women under 40, who have the most aggressive breast cancers. For women over 40, mammograms are 40-60 percent accurate. In addition, after 15 mammograms, the risk of mammogram-
induced breast cancer is 1 in 500, according to Dr. John Goffman (radiologist and physicist) and the National Institutes of Health.

Thermography has undergone extensive research since it was first used to spy on the Russians in the 1950s. There are over 800 peer-reviewed studies on breast thermography in the index medicus. Over 300,000 women have been study participants and some studies have followed patients up to 12 years. In 1982, the FDA approved breast thermography as an adjunctive diagnostic breast cancer screening.

Early thermography studies showed cancerous hot spots in womenís breasts that could not be verified by mammogram. Thermography was dismissed as inaccurate, and cancer research funding went to mammography. Ten years later, the hot spots shown on the thermo-grams had become breast cancers that were verifiable by mammogram. The average breast cancer has been growing for 8 to 15 years before it is large enough to be seen on a mammogram.

Thermography can rate the risk level of a breast lump, which is particularly valuable for women who have had confusing or unclear mammograms. This helps prevent needless, painful and expensive biopsies.

Thermography screening is recommended to start at age 20, with screenings every 3 years. After age 40, annual exams are recommended. Thermography gives the opportunity for very early detection, so there is time to comfortably choose the healing therapies that expand the quality of life.

Dr. Linda Fickes practices in Honolulu at Fickes Holistic Care Corp. She can be reached at 377-1811.