Thermography is a radiation-free screening procedure that captures heat images of the body to aid in the early detection of cancer and other health concerns. It utilizes a specialized infrared camera to detect heat changes in the body. As a tumor grows, it develops new blood vessels to form a blood supply and emits excess heat. Because the healthy body tends to have a high degree of symmetry (balance), even subtle temperature asymmetries (imbalances) are easily detected, and can identify inflammation and pathologies. This makes thermography an excellent tool for initial detection of possible issues in the body, and is particularly helpful in detecting early changes in breast tissue. When thermography is used in examining breast tissue, we call this procedure is called a “mammotherm”.

Mammotherms are FDA-approved as a screening device for the early detection of breast disease.

Abnormal early breast changes are dependent on increasing blood circulation. This process results in thermal variations that can often be detected by thermography. While mammography, MRI, and other types of structural imaging rely primarily on finding the physical tumor, thermography is based on detecting the heat produces by increased blood vessel circulation. By detecting minute variations in blood vessel activity, infrared imaging may find thermal signs suggesting a pre-cancerous state of the breast or the presence of an early tumor that is not yet large enough to be detected by physical examination, mammography, or other types of structural imaging.

Below are two examples of mammotherms performed in our clinic:

Images of normal breast tissue, shown in color and Normal tissue in black and white

Images of abnormal breast tissue, shown in color and black and white. (Note the differences between the breasts. The color image shows increased heat in the patient’s left breast.)

Abnormal breast tissue, shown in color and Abnormal breast tissue, shown in black and white

What to expect during your mammotherm appointment

This is a painless and non-invasive procedure. The imaging process itself takes less than 5 minutes, and your appointment will take about 45 minutes. When you arrive at the clinic, you will be escorted to our private imaging room where you will change into a gown. You will stay in the room to cool to room temperature to allow for accurate imaging. Dr. Dean Clark D.C. and a female assistant will take the images with the infrared camera. He will then review his initial findings with you during your visit and will follow up in a week with a written report and copies of your images.

A unique aspect of our clinic is that Dr. Dean Clark D.C. is currently the only board-certified infrared imager in Oregon and Washington. He has been in practice for over 39 years, and has performed hundreds of breast thermography images. The Oregon Board of Chiropractic Examiners has approved him to read and write the imaging reports – you will leave your appointment with equipped with information to help you manage your health.