Thermography - A Feasible Method for Screening of Breast Cancer?
Potential use of thermography for more effective detection of breast carcinoma was evaluated on 26 patients scheduled for breast carcinoma surgery. Ultrasonographic scan, mammography and thermography were performed at the University Hospital for Tumors. Thermographic imaging was performed using a new generation of digital thermal cameras with high sensitivity and resolution (ThermoTracer TH7102WL, NEC). Five images for each patient were recorded: front, right semi-oblique, right oblique, left- semi oblique and left oblique. While mammography detected 31 changes in 26 patients, thermography was more sensitive and detected 6 more changes in the same patients. All 37 changes were subjected to the cytological analysis and it was found that 43.24% of samples were malignant, 21.62% were suspected malignant and 29.73% were benign with atypia or proliferation. The pathohistological method (PHD) recorded 75.75% malignant changes within the total number of samples. Statistical analysis of the data has shown a probability of correct mammographic finding in 85% of the cases (sensitivity of 85%, specificity of 84%) and a probability of correct thermographic finding in 92% of the cases (sensitivity of 100%, specificity of 79%).
As breast cancer remains the most prevalent cancer in women and thermography exhibited superior sensitivity, we believe that thermography should immediately find its place in the screening programs for early detection of breast carcinoma, in order to reduce the sufferings from this devastating disease.