Thermography is an imaging technique that has uses both in and out of the medical field. The military, firefighters, and engineers are among other professionals who use the information provided by thermography technology. Thermography records variances in heat, and maps the differences in hot and cold; displaying that information as an image. These images are known as thermograms. Thermography is currently being researched as a possible complement in the diagnosis of cancer. Tumors, be them malignant or benign, require a blood supply. The irregular vascular patterns caused by this blood flow create unique images that can be detected by thermography cameras.
Mesothelioma and Thermography
Proponents of thermography hope to eventually apply this diagnostic tool to their practice as a method of locating cancerous tumors faster than traditional imaging, such as x-rays. Speeding up the detection process is paramount to detecting cancer in the earliest possible stages. This could prove especially beneficial for diseases like mesothelioma
, a cancer known for its long latency period
. The latent onset of symptoms in mesothelioma normally results in a late-stage diagnosis. Earlier detection could lead to better management of the disease, as well as a better understanding of it. Thermography could also prove useful as an aid to complementary
therapies by assisting in pain detection. Changes in the surface temperature of skin sometimes accompanying pain could be relayed to massage therapists, acupuncturists
, etc., on thermograms. Thermography would also lead to less exposure to radiation. Doctors who propose the addition of thermography to diagnostic testing state that the process gives off no radiation, helping to decrease the total amount of radiation cancer patients come into contact with. Thermography also does not require compression, making it a non-invasive, painless procedure.
Progress in the Medical Field
An area already seeing benefit from the use of thermography technology are breast cancer screening tests. The Foundation for Alternative and Integrative Medicine states that thermography is over 97 percent accurate. An abnormal thermogram remains the single most accurate indication that a patient has a high-risk for breast cancer development. Thermograms have the ability to warn women of cancer risk anywhere from eight to ten years sooner than other imaging methods. Those diagnosed with cancers such as mesothelioma might be interested in learning more about the benefits of thermography. The possibility of early detection could prove especially beneficial for patients with these types of cancers. Those diagnosed with mesothelioma and other cancers might consider these types of alternative treatments in conjunction with their current standard methods of treatment. References: