Technology has given us a lot throughout the years, including new ways to be more proactive about our health. Getting tested regularly and understanding your personal and family health history can help with early detection—and save your life. That is when digital thermography enters the spotlight. Not only is digital thermography, also called digital infrared thermographic imaging, a great way to keep track of your health, it can be especially useful for identifying cancer.
What is Digital Thermography?
Thermography is a kind of infrared technology that can record temperature changes upon the surface of the skin, essentially creating a heat map that doctors can consult. While this may not seem like a necessary thing, digital thermography can help scan for things like breast cancer.
How is the heat map created? It is simple. A camera is positioned towards the body and gauges how much heat is being generated across the body. From there, those images are sent to a computer to process it for viewing. In most cases, the rendered image will show where the body has increased blood flow, inflammation, or increased cell metabolism.
There have been more than 800 studies over a 30 year time frame to see whether digital thermography is accurate. It was concluded that digital thermography has been pivotal in providing warning to women who were later diagnosed with breast cancer. In fact, 60 percent of the time, the doctors did their diagnosis based on the digital thermography readings.
What are the Benefits of Digital Thermography?
Thermography is useful for a number of reasons, including:
- It requires no contact and is noninvasive
- Does not require compression of the breast or other places around the body to get a reading
- Detects changes in the body, including the dense tissue of breasts with implants
- Hormonal and menstrual cycles do not affect thermography readings
- It can locate vascular changes in tissue and indicate locations where there may be cancerous cells long before other tests.
Are There Any Drawbacks to Digital Thermography?
The drawbacks are not really negatives when you consider what thermography can help doctors locate in the human body. However, digital thermography is limited. While it can locate sources of heat within the body, it is not a detection device for cancer. In fact, it can only show places where doctors can perform further investigation. Digital thermography may also show changes within the body that are not cancerous.
This means that if you get a reading back that your doctor is concerned about, they may decide to send you for a mammogram to confirm their suspicions.
Will Digital Thermography Help Me?
Now that you know what digital thermography is, you may be wondering if it is something you should seek out. That’s a question that only you can answer. It depends on what you think is wrong. If you are interested in the process, then you should get in touch with a medical provider with the proper equipment.