What Studies Say About Breast Thermography
In a study comparing clinical examination, mammography, and thermography in the diagnosis of breast cancer, three groups of patients were used: 4,716 patients with confirmed carcinoma, 3,305 patients with histologically diagnosed benign breast disease, and 8.757 general patients (16,778 total participants). This paper also compared clinical examination and mammography to other well-known studies in the literature including the NCI-sponsored Breast Cancer Detection Demonstration Projects. In this study, clinical examination had an average sensitivity of 75% in detecting all tumors and 50% in cancers less than 2 cm in size. This rate is exceptionally good when compared to many other studies at between 35-66% sensitivity. Mammography was found to have an average 80% sensitivity and 73% specificity. Thermography had an average sensitivity of 88% (85% in tumors less than 1 cm in size) and a specificity of 85%. An abnormal thermogram was found to have a 94% predictive value. From the findings in this study, the authors suggested that, “For best results, a multimodal approach should be used.”
Source: Nyirjesy, I., Ayme, Y., et al: Clinical Evaluation, Mammography, and Thermography in the Diagnosis of Breast Carcinoma. Thermology 1:170-173, 1986.
Spitalier and associates screened 61,000 women using thermography over a 10-year period. The false-negative and positive rate was found to be 11% (89% sensitivitiy and specificity). 91% of the nonpalpable cancers (T0 rating) were detected by thermography. Of all the patients with cancer, thermography alone was the first alarm in 60% of the cases.
Source: Spitalier, H., Giraud, D., et al: Does Infrared Thermography Truly Have a Role in Present-Day Breast Cancer Management? Biomedical Thermology, Alan R. Liss New York, NY. Pp. 269-278, 1982.
In a series of 4,000 confirmed breast cancers, Thomassin and associates observed 130 sub-clinical carcinomas ranging in diameter of 3-5 mm. Both mammography and thermography were used alone and in combination. Of the 130 cancers, 10% were detected by mammography only, 50% by thermography alone, and 40% by both techniques. Thus, there was a thermal alarm in 90% of the patients and the only sign in 50% of the cases.
Source: Thomassin, L., Giraud, D. et al: Detection of Subclinical Breast Cancers by Infrared Thermography. Recent Advances in Medical Thermology (Proceedings of the Third International Congress of Thermology), Plenum Press, New York, NY. Pp. 575-579, 1984.
In the past 30 years there have been numerous studies that have demonstrated thermography to have the ability to detect breast abnormalities that other screening methods may not have identified. The Ville Marie study demonstrated that thermography alone had a sensitivity of 83% in detecting breast cancer [versus 66% sensitivity for mammography], while the combination of mammography and thermography had a 95% sensitivity…a combination that incorporates thermography may boost both sensitivity and specificity.
Source: Kennedy DA, Lee T, Seely D. A comparative review of thermography as a breast cancer screening technique. Integrative Cancer Therapies. 2009; 8(1):9-16
In a large scale multi-center review of nearly 70,000 women screened, Jones reported a false-negative and false-positive rate of 13% (87% sensitivity) and 15% (85% sensitivity) respectively for thermography.
Source: Jones CH: Thermography of the Female Breast. In: C.A. Parsons (Ed) Diagnosis of Breast Disease, University Park Press, Baltimore, pp.214-234, 1983.
Cancer, 1980, Volume 56, 45-51. (17) Fifty-eight thousand patients with breast complaints were examined between 1965 and 1977. Twelve hundred and forty-five patients with abnormal Th3 mammotherms had normal breasts by mammography, ultrasound, physical exam, and biopsy. Thirty-eight percent of women with normal breasts and 44% of those with mastopathy developed biopsy proven breast cancer within five years. Ninety percent of patients with Th4 or 5 had diagnosis of cancer made on their first visit.
Biomedical Thermology, 1982, 279-301, Alan Liss, Inc, New York. Michel Gautherie, MD, followed 10,834 women over 2 to 10 years by clinical examination, mammography and thermography. (15) The study followed 387 people with normal breast examinations and mammograms but Th3 thermographic scores for an average of less than three years. In those without symptoms, 33% developed cancer. In those with cystic mastitis, cancer developed in 41%. These were predominately women between 30 to 45 years of age where breast cancer is the leading cause of death.
The Breast Journal, Volume 4, 1998, 245-51. (19) Keyserlingk et al documented 85% sensitivity in diagnosing breast cancer using clinical examination and mammography together. This increased to 98% when breast thermography was added.