Monday, January 12, 2009

Thermograms

On Dec. 11 ( my youngest sons birthday) I received a card in the mail with the results from my second mammogram. After tearing off the sides and unfolding the letter I was informed that the results indicated I needed to schedule a visit with my doctor for a biopsy. The letter writes, " we don't want to alarm you but federal law requires us to advise you of your options and results". I am so glad there is a law, but must wonder about the rest of the story, I mean who didn't get the letter, and what consequences did they suffer?
Unconvinced of the seriousness of my situation and greatly perturbed, I tore the letter up and threw it away.
On Dec. 31st - New Years Eve I got a call from my doctors nurse. She calmly asked me when I wanted to schedule my biopsy. I calmly said, Never. She was surprised.
A funny thing happens when you keep news like this inside you. After weeks of not saying a word to anyone - I wanted to cry. I was tired and scared and angry. Angry because of this and that and everything in my life that had gone wrong in the last year. My husband has Parkinson's, and now I have breast cancer, it just can't be true.
So, I went crying to the calmest most logical person I know, and in a very short time I dried my eyes and went home to make an appointment. I called my doctors nurse, who told me to call another number, who I left a message with and then after three hours returned my call and told me I needed to call my doctors nurse because she couldn't help me because I needed to see a surgeon. In the course of the conversation she said the word surgeon about 10 times, until I politely asked her not to say that word and then she only said it another 5 times. I then called my doctors nurse but only got a recorded message that the office was now closed for the holiday.
I imagined that I would be playing phone tag with my doctors nurse and the surgeons nurse forever and in the mean time my tumor would grow to be the size of a grapefruit.
Bright and early on Monday morning I called and got an appointment with
the surgeon for a consultation. Then I called my mother aka , Dr. Carol. My mother has suffered with more sickness than anyone I know. The result of decades of searching for answers has turned her into a valuable resource of traditional and non-traditional ( alternative) medicine. She advised me to get a Thermogram.
Here is the interesting part of my story - There exists a technology that can detect an issue YEARS before a tumor can be seen on X-ray or palpated during an exam and truly offers early detection. This technology has been approved by the FDA as an adjunctive screening tool since 1982 and offers No radiation, No compression and No pain.
Thermal cameras detect heat emitted from the body and display it as a picture on a computer monitor. These images are unique to the person and remain stable over time. It is because of these characteristics that thermal imaging is a valuable and effective screening tool. Tumors or other breast diseases measure warmer than surrounding tissue and can thereby alert a physician to a problem before a tumor is actually palpable. Medical doctors who interpret the breast scans are board certified thermologists. Thermography is not limited by breast density and is ideal for women who have had cosmetic or reconstructive surgery, women who refuse mammography, or women who want clinical correlation for an already existing issue. Thermography, because it analyzes a developing process, may identify a problem several years before mammography. As we all know, early detection is important to survival. DITI has an average sensitivity and specificity of 90%. An abnormal thermogram carries a 10x greater risk for cancer. A persistent abnormal thermogram carries a 22x greater risk for cancer. By the time a mammogram locates a tumor, it has been growing for at least 5 years.
The most effective way to find breast cancer is to use all available tools as often as is necessary.
Here is a link to a site that I found very helpful -

http://www.breastthermography.com/breast_thermography_mf.htm
Sadly, thermograms are not covered by most HMO's. The standard practise is mammography. A thermogram costs between $150- $250

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