We are often asked what inspired us to start a thermal imaging business. Truthfully, it has been our own personal desire for prevention and wellness that piqued our interest in providing this technology to our clients.
Although we have been doing thermal imaging for many years, we sometimes receive a phone call from either an existing client or a potential new client asking if thermal imaging would be indicated for an unusual or unfamiliar specific condition.
In an effort to represent thermography accurately, we rely on our doctors to guide us when we are unsure.
Below are several examples (some with images) of some unfamiliar situations that required us to contact our interpreting physicians to ask if thermal imaging would offer additional information for these situations:
My husband doesn’t want to have a prostate exam and would like to know if thermography would be a good tool for evaluating prostate health? Would a thermographic scan help us evaluate prostate health?
Sorry gentlemen, thermography would NOT be indicated to evaluate prostate health. By the time we would be able to detect a significant finding thermographically, it would have been picked up years prior in an annual PSA test and/or by rectal digit exam. Our medical thermologists will not evaluate any requests for evaluation of prostate health.
My 32 year-old son was recently diagnosed with testicular cancer. We are devastated regarding this diagnosis as he is facing an impending orchiectomy. We are wondering if this diagnosis is accurate and perhaps this is just an infection. Would a testicular scan help us determine if this is an infection versus a developing cancer?
We cannot evaluate testicular health. Although the testicles lie outside the body, they are surrounded and protected by the scrotum and thus any scans of the testicles would really be an evaluation of scrotal health, not testicular health. Talk to your health practitioner to try to alleviate your concerns. If you are uncomfortable with his current diagnosis, request a second opinion if this won’t delay his surgery or potentially compromise his prognosis. Ask about any blood tests that could help distinguish between an infection versus a more serious pathology.
I had a root canal two weeks ago and still am having lots of pain. If we did a thermogram, could we look to see if there’s an infection? Will it be able to tell the difference between an infection and the normal healing process after a root canal?
Thermal studies are useful to monitor the healing process or identify ongoing infection. Thermography will correlate symptoms of pain with the thermal findings and give an opinion that can help with clinical decision-making.
Above: Client wanted to use DITI to monitor healing from dental procedures and images provided her with visual representations of her healing progress.
I had cancer several years ago and I want to do a full-body scan to see if there is evidence of cancer anywhere in my body. Can we do a full-body scan to look for recurrence of cancer?
Thermography has a high sensitivity and low specificity. Using thermal imaging as a tool for looking for cancer throughout the body is not indicated. Diagnostic tools that can help you determine reoccurrence of cancer may be a PET scan, MRI and cancer markers seen in the blood (CA 125, CA 19-9, etc).
Remember, DITI is used to watch for changes over time and not so much as a detection device. Once a full body scan is on file, annual imaging to monitor for new findings, increase/decrease in inflammation and determine trends is how to use this technology. Attempting to use DITI as a detection tool puts this technology in a different category and that leads to misuse and misunderstanding of this preventive screening technology.
In 2010 I was diagnosed with HPV. I want to do a thermogram to look for activity of the virus and/or progression of the infection. Can we look to see if this is leading to other urogenital (cervical, vaginal, etc) cancers?
Thermography can help provide objective findings relating to the activity and inflammation relating to an outbreak but would not be specific enough to contribute useful information about other associated or developing pathologies.
Can we do an abdominal scan to look at cervical, uterine and ovarian health?
Regional studies that include the lower abdomen can be helpful in identifying inflammation and infection and other causes of dysfunction relating to the cervix, uterus and ovaries. In most cases clinical correlation will be necessary to reach a diagnosis and again, watching for changes over time offers the best chance of early warning signs allowing for early intervention.
I hurt my shoulder about two months ago. It’s not painful when I perform my daily living activities (dressing, showering, etc) but do find it painful to reach upward. I can tolerate this but now I’m wondering if I am causing more damage. Can a thermal scan tell me if there’s a tear (rotator cuff, tendon, ligament, etc) in my shoulder?
Yes, thermography can tell if there are any positive findings to indicate joint related, ligament, muscular or other types of dysfunction which require clinical evaluation, diagnosis or treatment.
I have a nodule on my thyroid. Can this test tell me if I have thyroid cancer?
Thermography is not diagnostic, however it can show useful thermal findings that correlate with a nodule and provide information relating to the activity of the nodule which is useful in the decision-making of diagnosis and treatment.
My daughter has a brain tumor and had surgery and has undergone radiation therapy. Can a thermal scan tell us if there is a recurrence of the tumor before she is symptomatic?
No, thermal imaging does not provide any useful information in the case of brain tumors or the monitoring for recurrence.
Heart disease and peripheral vascular disease seems to be prevalent in my family. I am a 35 year-old male and I have high blood pressure. My twin sister and I would like to come for thermographic evaluation of cardiopulmonary health or evidence of early heart disease. Would this be beneficial? Would it be helpful to do whole-body imaging? Would it be most-beneficial to do this every year or could we come every other year?
Above: Client with elevated Cardiac Reactive Protein (CRP), an early risk indication
for heart disease.
Above: Patient with asymmetrical finding in carotid artery detected with DITI.
There are useful thermal findings that can indicate developing cardiovascular disease.
Regular screening provides the best opportunity of detecting changes at an early stage. The region’s best suited to evaluate cardiovascular disease include the chest, upper back and head and neck images. A full body study is always helpful in assessing peripheral circulatory conditions and other associated problems. The decision regarding ongoing annual screening or waiting longer periods would be made after the first study and results combined with individual history and symptoms.
“Infrared thermography is a promising technique for the detection of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) before and after revascularization.” (Am J Cardiol 1993; 72: 894-896) Summary: Detection of thermal asymmetry showed 94% sensitivity for the presence of significant CAD.
We will always do our best to represent thermography accurately, and never hesitate to admit to what we do not know or understand and ask for help and guidance from our reading thermologists (MDs) when needed.
Thermography does not take the place of any other technology, but it is the ONLY imaging that monitors the following: trends relating to inflammation, new findings in areas that should be stable, increase/decrease of inflammation which helps monitor healing/treatment response and allows for early interventions in an attempt to stop disease progression. All other technologies offer detection AFTER disease has been present for many years. At Proactive Health Solutions, we encourage intervention BEFORE symptoms are present, thereby offering the patient the opportunity to optimize health.
Yours in prevention,
Lynda and Brenda