The Best Breast Cancer Screening Tests

Studies show that a thermogram identifies precancerous or cancerous cells earlier, produces unambiguous results — which cuts down on additional testing — and doesn’t hurt the body. To learn more, read the full blog post or call today to make your appointment 541-302-2977.

screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-12-37-56-pmThe Best Breast Cancer Screening Tests

6 Reasons Why I Recommend Thermography

In the past two weeks, I’ve had two friends tell me that they have had bilateral mastectomies for DCIS, or Ductal Carcinoma In Situ. This absolutely breaks my heart because DCIS is NOT cancer.  But, increasingly, due to high resolution mammograms, DCIS is being picked up on breast cancer screening tests. And, depending upon what advice a woman is then given, she may well be advised to get treatment, which she rarely needs.

DCIS is widely misunderstood.

Currently DCIS is considered Stage 0 cancer, but for years, some experts have been recommending that changes be made to this classification, and even to the name.

One proposal calls for a new classification called “indolent” instead of “cancer” for tumors that are unlikely to cause harm. So DCIS would be called “indolent lesions of epithelial origin,” or “IDLE.” This certainly makes way more sense considering that 99.9 percent of the time DCIS is something a woman will die with but not die from!

The Alarming Rise of Mastectomies

A large study of over 51,000 women found that the number of women who decided to have both breasts removed (double mastectomy) after being diagnosed with DCIS in one breast more than tripled between 1998 and 2005.

And, the likelihood that a woman would decide to have prophylactic mastectomy on the other healthy breast increased during the time studied: In 1998, 4.1% of the women had prophylactic mastectomy. In 2005, 13.5% had prophylactic mastectomy.

Screening tests have led to a great deal of over diagnosis and over treatment, a view supported by breast cancer surgeon Dr. Laura Esserman, who happens to be a heroine of mine. In an article published in October, 2015 in JAMA Oncology, breast cancer surgeon, Dr. Esserman says:

Now DCIS accounts for approximately 20% to 25% of screen-detected breast cancers. The cells that make up DCIS look like invasive cancer both pathologically and molecularly, and therefore the presumption was made that these lesions were the precursors of cancer and that early removal and treatment would reduce cancer incidence and mortality. However, long-term epidemiology studies have demonstrated that the removal of 50 000 to 60 000 DCIS lesions annually has not been accompanied by a reduction in the incidence of invasive breast cancers.

The problem is that women have been trained to be so afraid of breast cancer that they’ll often willingly sacrifice their breasts just to relieve their anxiety—or what a doctor friend of mine calls “surveillance fatigue.”  Plus, most doctors are trained to do something when they have a diagnosis. And given the number of them who have been sued for “failure to diagnose,” it’s not surprising that so many women agree to sacrifice their breasts rather than take what they are taught is a huge risk, even when it isn’t.

For these reasons, it’s not surprising that the number of women having prophylactic mastectomies “just in case” has soared. The rates of contralateral prophylactic mastectomy more than tripled from 2002 to 2012 even though studies have shown that removing healthy breasts doesn’t improve survival. And, with celebrities such as Sharon Osbourne and Angelina Jolie having double mastectomies preventively, I expect this rate will continue to rise.

As a caring physician, I’m certainly not going to be a Monday morning quarterback and ask a woman why she didn’t do more research about DCIS before having drastic and often unnecessary surgery. That would be pouring salt into her wound. On the other hand, this all too common situation makes me more determined than ever to help educate women about breast health, including the fact that far too many women are being over diagnosed and over-treated for so called breast cancers that are not cancers. (By the way, the same thing happens with thyroid and prostate conditions!)

Monitoring Your Breast Health

Before succumbing to what I refer to as October Pink Madness, please know that there are tried and true ways to maintain breast health, and also monitor it. One of those is paying attention to your dreams. That’s right—My colleague Dr. Larry Burke has published studies showing that a dream about having breast cancer is often very accurate at diagnosing the problem. But there are other more conventional approaches, including thermography.

Why Thermography Is Your Best Breast Test Option

Every year when Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October) comes around I am saddened and surprised that thermography hasn’t become more popular. Part of this is my mindset. I’d rather focus on breast health and ways to prevent breast cancer at the cellular level than put the emphasis on testing and retesting until you finally do find something to poke, prod, cut out, or radiate. I understand that mammography has been the gold standard for years. Doctors are the most familiar with this test, and many believe that a mammogram is the best test for detecting breast cancer early. But it’s not. Studies show that a thermogram identifies precancerous or cancerous cells earlier, produces unambiguous results — which cuts down on additional testing —  and doesn’t hurt the body.

As you may know, thermography is a form of thermal (infrared) imaging. My colleague, Philip Getson, D.O. has been a medical thermographer since 1982. Dr. Getson explains how thermography works this way:

It is widely acknowledged that cancers, even in their earliest stages, need nutrients to maintain or accelerate their growth. In order to facilitate this process, blood vessels are caused to remain open, inactive blood vessels are activated, and new ones are formed through a process known as neoangiogenesis. This vascular process causes an increase in surface temperature in the affected regions, which can be viewed with infrared imaging cameras. Additionally, the newly formed or activated blood vessels have a distinct appearance, which thermography can detect.

Remember, heat is an indication that inflammation exists, and typically inflammation is present in precancerous and cancerous cells, too. It’s also present in torn muscles and ligaments as well as arthritic joints, which thermography can also detect!

Early Breast Cancer Detection and Accuracy

Today, women are encouraged to get a mammogram, so they can find their breast cancer as early as possible. The most promising aspect of thermography is its ability to spot anomalies years before mammography. Using the same ten-year study data, (Spitalier 1) researcher Dr. Getson adds:

Since thermal imaging detects changes at the cellular level, studies suggest that this test can detect activity eight to ten years before any other test. This makes it unique in that it affords us the opportunity to view changes before the actual formation of the tumor. Studies have shown that by the time a tumor has grown to sufficient size to be detectable by physical examination or mammography, it has in fact been growing for about seven years achieving more than twenty-five doublings of the malignant cell colony. At 90 days there are two cells, at one year there are 16 cells, and at five years there are 1,048,576 cells—an amount that is still undetectable by a mammogram. (At 8 years, there are almost 4 billion cells.)

Thermography’s accuracy and reliability is remarkable, too. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, a great deal of research was conducted on thermography. In 1981, Michel Gautherie, Ph.D., and his colleagues reported on a ten-year study, which found that an abnormal thermogram was ten times more significant as a future risk indicator for breast cancer than having a history of breast cancer in your family. (Gautherie 2)

With thermography as your regular screening tool, it’s likely that you would have the opportunity to make adjustments to your diet, beliefs, and lifestyle to transform your cells before they became cancerous. Talk about true prevention.

Clearer Results, Fewer Additional Tests

It seems like the world was set on its ear in November 2009 when the United States Preventative Services Task Force said it recommended that women begin regular mammograms at 50 instead of 40, and that mammograms are needed only every two years instead of annually between the ages of 50 and 74.  Some women felt this was a way for the insurance companies to save money, but I cheered these new guidelines. The Task Force concluded that the risk of additional and unnecessary testing far outweighed the benefits of annual mammograms—and I couldn’t agree more.

Even before the U.S. Preventative Task Force’s recommendation, Danish researchers Ole Olsen and Peter Gotzsche concluded, after analyzing data from seven studies, that mammograms often led to needless treatments and were linked to a 20 percent increase in mastectomies, many of which were unnecessary. (Goetshe 3) Dr. Getson expounded, “According to the 1998 Merck Manual, for every case of breast cancer diagnosed each year, five to ten women will undergo a painful breast biopsy. This means that if a woman has an annual mammogram for ten years, she has a 50 percent chance of having a breast biopsy.”

If you’ve ever had an unnecessary biopsy or been scared by a false positive result on a mammogram, please consider getting a thermogram.  You can always use it in conjunction with the mammogram to figure out your treatment options.

6 Reasons Why I Recommend Breast Thermography

In addition to early detection and accurate test results, here are some other reasons I like thermography:

  1. Good for young, dense breasts and implants. Younger breasts tend to be denser. Thermography doesn’t identify fibrocystic tissue, breast implants, or scars as needing further investigation.
  2.  Detect cell changes in arm pit area. The arm pit area is an area that mammography isn’t always good at screening.
  3.  Great additional test. Thermography can be used as an additional test to help women and their care teams make more informed treatment decisions.
  4.  It Doesn’t Hurt. The pressure of a mammogram machine is equivalent to putting a 50-pound weight on your breast, which can be quite painful for most women.
  5.  No radiation. Another reason the United States Preventative Services Task Force reversed its aggressive mammogram guidelines was because of the exposure to radiation. It’s well known that excessive doses of radiation can increase your risk of cancer. (Semelka 4). It’s ironic that the test women are using for prevention may be causing the very problem they’re trying to avoid in the first place! And this doesn’t even touch on the harm done to the body from unnecessary biopsies, lumpectomies, mastectomies, chemotherapy, radiation treatment, and so forth.
  6.  Thermography is very safe. Thermography is even safe for pregnant and nursing women! It’s merely an image of the heat of your body.

Thermography is a better technology for all of the reasons I’ve already described. Plus, it gives results that are unique to you, time after time. But Dr. Getson says there are some things you need to know. For one, not all thermographic equipment is the same. When you are choosing a thermography center, be sure to ask what the “drift factor” is for their machines.  Anything over 0.2 degrees centigrade leads to poor reproducibility. Also, the room in which the study is performed should be free of outside light and the temperature should always be at 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit, with a proper cooling system in place.

Be sure that your thermography center of choice is backed by qualified, board-certified physicians who are specifically trained in the interpretation of these images. And, be sure that the physician is available to explain and discuss all findings. Finally, make sure the images are “stat”-ed or marked up for future comparison.

The Best Test for You

As with anything, I suggest you let your inner guidance help you in all decisions about your health. If you feel it’s best to get a bi-annual or annual mammogram, then by all means continue with them. Just be aware of the drawbacks and risks associated with the test.

And, don’t be intimidated or feel guilty if you prefer to forgo mammography completely. A thermogram can tell you how healthy your breasts are rather than just screening them for cancer.  When done properly, it also has the potential to truly detect breast cell anomalies long before mammography can detect cancer. This allows you to implement lifestyle changes that can improve the health of your breasts proactively.

In honor of Breast Health Awareness month, I encourage you to check out thermography for yourself and your loved ones!

Learn More — Additional Resources

Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, by Christiane Northrup, M.D.


  1. Spitalier et al., “Does Infrared Thermography Truly Have a Role in Present-Day Breast Cancer Management?” in M. Gautherie and E. Albert, eds., Biomedical Thermology: Proceedings of an International Symposium (New York: A. R. Liss, 1982), pp. 269–78; R. Amalric et al., “Does Infrared Thermography Truly Have a Role in Present-Day Breast Cancer Management?” Progress in Clinical and Biological Research, vol. 107 (1982), pp. 269–78.
  2. Gautherie and C. M. Gros, “Breast Thermography and Cancer Risk Prediction,” Cancer, vol. 45, no. 1 (January 1, 1980), pp. 51–56.
  3. Gotzsche, P. and Olsen, O., “Is Screening for Breast Cancer with Mammography Justifiable?” The Lancet, vol. 355, no. 9198 (Jan. 8, 2000), pp. 129–34; Gotzsche, P. and Olsen, O., Cochrane Review on Screening for Breast Cancer with Mammography, The Lancet, vol. 358, no. 9290 (Oct. 20, 2001), pp. 1340–42.
  4. Semelka, R., Imaging X-rays cause cancer: a call to action for caregivers and patients, Medscape, Feb. 13, 2006, reviewed and renewed Feb. 16, 2007.

Why Breast Density Matters When It Comes to Breast Cancer Screening

Here is an article from Dr. Mercola….another reason to just say no to a mammogram.


Ingrid says 1/3 of the population have dense breasts and it is more the case for younger women before menopause. Remember infrared thermography is fabulous for women with dense breasts because we are looking at metabolic or physiologic/heat changes in the breast. Fibrocysts and lipomas/ fatty tumors both scan “Cold” hence reducing unnecessary biopsies. Mammograms look like a snow storm in women with dense breasts that markedly reduce visibility.



New Research and the TH3 Epidemic

This article was written by William C. Amalu, DC, DABCT, DIACT, FIACT

Before we dive into the reasoning behind why we are seeing so many TH3 thermograms, let’s review the physiology that causes these infrared images.

Estrogen is a powerful steroid that, in the breast, primarily acts upon the ductal cells. The hormone causes the ductal cells to grow and multiply. Normal levels of estrogen (estrogen in balance with progesterone) cause normal ductal cell changes. Unopposed estrogen (lack of balance resulting in increased levels of estrogen) causes an increase in ductal cell growth and multiplication (ductal hyperplasia). This stimulation of the ductal cells causes an increase in cellular metabolism. In order to sustain this cellular growth and multiplication, the cells demand more oxygen and metabolites (food). This causes an increase in the size and number of blood vessels in order to bring in nutrients and remove waste. The end result is an infrared image that has a symmetrical appearance of a specific vascular pattern originating from the main arterial supply and venous drainage of the breast.

Estrogen plays a major role in the pathogenesis of breast cancer via the uptake into the cell through the mechanism of the estrogen receptor (ER). Its association with many of the epidemiological risk factors for breast carcinoma (e.g. age of menarche, first child, breast feeding, menopause, and the use of oral contraceptives, or hormone replacement therapy) is well known. The pathogenesis of estrogen as it relates to the cause of breast cancer is through two mechanisms: 1.) The aromatization (breakdown) of estrogen in the breast causing carcinogenic byproducts and, 2.) Direct stimulation of pre-cancerous and cancerous cellular growth (cancerous ductal cells).

Some studies suggest that the use of soy and flax will block the ER, thus decreasing the risk of breast cancer. Unfortunately, if the key (estrogen, soy, flax, etc.) fits the lock (ER receptor on the cell membrane) it may open the door to the effects on the cell. How would we know if the ER was either blocked or triggered? Perhaps we can observe the effects via MIR. It is well established that the effects of various hormones on the breast can be detected by MIR. The infrared vascular display produced by increased levels of estrogen, the hormones of pregnancy, and the hormonal interactions during lactation are well established and understood. When unopposed estrogen is treated, and hormonal balance is restored in the breast, the infrared display is returned to normal. We see this same effect when breast cancer patients are given Tamoxifen. More than 75% of all breast cancers are ER positive. This means that in these patients estrogen promotes the growth of their cancer. Tamoxifen is classified as an ER antagonist, it blocks the receptor so that circulating estrogen cannot bind and activate the cancer cells. When comparing the initial breast cancer images of these patients to the post-surgical images we not only see the resolution of the malignant neoangiogensis, but the background evidence of estrogen dominance has also resolved due to the patient taking Tamoxifen. We also have evidence of many variations on this theme (e.g. post-surgical images before Tamoxifen use) still resulting in the normalization of the estrogen dominant images due to Tamoxifen. Now that we have established that MIR has the ability to detect the effects of unopposed estrogen, and the positive effects of treatment (e.g progesterone, Tamoxifen), how does this relate to phytoestrogens and xenoestrogens?

If, as it has been postulated, soy and other phytoestrogens such as flax act as ER receptor blockers, we should be able to clearly observe these effects with MIR. Unfortunately, what we observe in the vast majority of women is the opposite. Soy and flax, but soy to a much great extent, affects the breast in the same way as estrogen. And again, how do we know this? When women take these phytoestrogens their MIR images change from normal to the vascular pattern seen with unopposed estrogen; and when they stop taking theses phytoestrogens their images return to normal. What this is demonstrating is that these phytoestrogens are binding with the ER and causing the same direct ductal cell stimulation, and resulting increase in vascularity, that estrogen does. Many women who stop taking soy will also tell you that their breasts become less sore, tender, and fibrocystic to the touch. This is also one of the same things women will tell you when stopping medications that left them estrogen imbalanced. Studies on phytoestrogens, especially on soy, also support these findings. It is unfortunate that the media, and the soy boards, push only the studies that promote things their way.

Now that we have a handle on how the physiology of the breast is affected, and how this affects the MIR images, let’s discuss what this has led to over time.

Some of you may have been noticing that over the past few years there has been a definite rise in the number of breast images that are being graded as TH3s. Along with this has been a steady decrease in TH1s. This has also been observed by other thermologists. We have been discussing the possible reasons for this and have put forth a plausible reason. A steady increase in use of soy in the diet, along with xenoestrogens and the increased use of flax seed products, is causing two things to occur in the breast: 1.) Direct stimulation of ductal cell growth and multiplication, and, 2.) A “fertile field” of open vasculature in the breast as a byproduct of the effects of these “other” estrogens on the metabolism of the ductal cells. In this environment, atypical cells (pre-cancer), early stage DCIS, or other breast cancers may receive direct stimulation promoting growth (e.g. ER positive cancers) along with taking advantage of the resulting increase in blood flow to maintain growth. This, in turn, may be creating the vascular asymmetries and hyperthermic findings we are seeing in all these TH3s.

Phytoestrogens in the diet, primarily soy, has increased at an alarming rate. It is becoming very difficult to find foods that do not contain soy. As such, the public is being forced to eat ever increasing amounts of soy without their knowledge. Taking this into consideration, and adding deliberate uses of soy in the diet (tofu, soy milk, etc.), may be causing the increased number of TH3 gradings via the pathway mentioned above. To this can be added xenoestrogens found in make-up, shampoo, sunscreens, and many other hygiene products and chemicals in our home and office environments. Considering these exposures as a whole could account for the significant rise in estrogen dominant images seen over the past 15 years. In 1995 we used to see approximately 45-50% of women scanned with estrogen dominant images; the number now approaches 95%. The resulting direct stimulation of cellular growth, and increase in blood flow, may be pushing more and more thermograms into the TH3 range.

A new piece of the puzzle is also emerging. I recommend that you do a search on the net for GMO (genetically modified) foods and pesticides. There is brand new research out showing strong evidence that GMO foods, especially combined with common pesticides, causes cancer. Due to these findings a great number of countries around the world are now refusing to purchase GMO crops from other countries. They are taking this very seriously.

Many of the pesticides alone have been found to have powerful estrogenic effects. And even more data is coming out about certain regions using powerful herbicides to kill plants encroaching on roadsides. These pesticides and herbicides are very powerful xenoestrogens; so much so that the sex of fish, alligators, and other aquatic animals are being altered to female when rain runoff takes these pesticides and herbicides into lakes. These are powerful endocrine disrupters.

Add these new xenoestrogen findings to the known dietary intake of soy and we have a recipe for an epidemic of TH3s (See the paper published below. This is only one example of many papers on this subject). The breast is being bombarded by so many outside estrogen sources that it makes sense that we are seeing what we are seeing. Keep in mind that these xenoestrogens have an affinity for fat tissue and can build up in the fat tissue over time. I now understand why so many women over 50 are showing thermograms that have the vascular appearance of pregnancy, and sometimes lactation!

As a warning signal, these TH3 images may be considered the best news for women. These women now have a chance to make changes and possibly head off a future cancer at a point in time that is extremely early. We have the technology to warn women of this situation and alert their doctors to this problem. I truly believe that we have the finest technology available at this time to play the most important role in prevention.

Isn’t it incredible, we were seeing all of these metabolic breast changes long before the possible causes were found. Thermography is the proverbial canary in the mine!

Food Chem Toxicol. 2013 Sep;59:129-36. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2013.05.057. Epub 2013 Jun 10.

Holistic Physician Dr. Brownstein urges women to consider thermography

There are many wise doctors and care providers out there who are questioning the traditional health care advice that women are given. One of these wise doctors is a Dr. Brownstein, a holistic family physician at the Medical Director of the Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

We just discovered his new blog post about mammograms and urge you all to read it. Dr. Brownstein is commenting on a recent Canadian study that shows that mammograms do not result in less breast cancer deaths. He urges women to do their research make up their own minds, and consider thermography. Here is what he says, in part:

“There is no question that mammograms pick up abnormalities in the breasts at a much earlier stage as compared to the physical exam–palpation of the breast.   However, as the Canadian studies showed, early diagnosis of breast cancer has not translated into improved mortality rates.  A similar situation occurs in men with prostate testing via the PSA test–early diagnosis does not change the course of the illness for the vast majority men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Keep in mind that mammograms are associated with adverse effects.  Mammograms utilize ionizing radiation which is a known to cause cancer.  In fact, there is a one percent increase risk of developing breast cancer for each mammogram a woman receives.  That means, after 10 years, the risk could be as  high as ten percent.  Some think the risk is higher.

What should you do?  Don’t blindly follow anyone’s recommendation, mine included.  Do your research. Just because a doctor says that a yearly mammogram is needed doesn’t  make it so.  Thermography provides a non-toxic way to image the breast using heat.  Since it does not expose the breast tissue to ionizing radiation, thermography should be an option.  More information about thermography can be found at:

Final thoughts:  The war on breast cancer has been a dismal failure.  Presently, we have one in seven U.S. women suffering with breast cancer.  The best that the Powers-That-Be can offer us, after spending trillions of our scarce health care dollars, is the screening mammogram– which has never been shown to lower mortality rates.   I say we need to refocus our efforts.  We need to spend our money figuring out what is causing one in seven women to have breast breast cancer.  We need less money spent on diagnosing cancer and more spent on how to prevent it.  What can you do?  Make your views known.  Congress will listen to us if we speak loudly enough.  And, finally, don’t donate to organizations that are not trying to figure out why so many of us are getting cancer.  These same organizations are busy, in the case of breast cancer, promoting screening mammograms.”

Read the entire post at this link: