Dear Healthy Thinkers,
With the article below I am introducing a new element to the website: on occasion I will publish articles submitted by like-minded health care providers who can give you their perspectives on healthy alternatives to drugs and surgery. There has been a great deal of news lately about the recommended decrease in mammograms. Dr. Moshe Dekel of New York has graciously provided the following excellent article on thermography. Dr. Stan
What “They” Won’t Tell You About Breast Cancer.
with Moshe Dekel, MD
By: Moshe Dekel, MD
Breast cancer rates on Long Island, New York, are among the highest in the nation. Although theories abound, no one is really sure why this is the case. Facing this elevated risk, Long Island women are well-advised to focus on what we do know about fighting breast cancer: aside from prevention, early detection is most critical. Traditionally, for most women breast cancer detection has meant only one thing: mammograms.
But even women who diligently get mammograms are sometimes let down by the modality’s limitations: Mammography gives no advance notice of breast cancer. Since it takes 10 years for a breast cancer cell to grow large enough to be detected by an ultrasound, mammogram or MRI, at best these procedures can only verify an existing problem. Additional questions about how mammography’s trauma, radiation, and compression might affect breast cancer cells remain unanswered.
Because of these uncertainties, a large number of women have searched for an alternative screening method . . . and discovered an effective, pain-free option: thermography. Approved by the FDA as an adjunct to mammography in 1982, thermography uses an infrared camera to examine the breast from a temperature perspective. This temperature-based screening is remarkably sensitive: Where mammography fails to give any advance notice, thermography can provide a six to seven year advance warning of a risk for breast cancer.
The significance of this advantage motivated Dr. Moshe Dekel, a board certified OB-GYN and thermography expert, to make this modality his mission. “When I learned about thermography, after 25 years of practice as an OB/GYN, I vowed that this was something that I needed to offer to my patients,” explains Dr. Dekel. “I’ve now done thousands of thermography procedures; colleagues also ask me to analyze their thermography test results.”
This thermography analysis is the secret to the test’s success, yielding valuable, multi-layered clues that transcend mammography’s “positive or negative” results. Instead, thermography’s image analysis provides an in-depth rating of a patient’s results in terms of normal, low risk, moderate risk, higher risk, or somewhere in between. Combined with its six-to-seven-year advance warning, thermography’s precise risk assessment gives women a deeper understanding of exactly where they are in terms of breast health.
“I don’t just give a piece of paper and say ‘Here’s the result,'” Dr. Dekel continues. “My patients get intimately involved with the process. The bottom line is that by the time patients have the thermography examination, they will have an idea of what kind of risk factors they have and what they need to do to reduce that risk.”
As for the examination itself, women are astounded by thermography’s ease and convenience-especially when compared to the pain, radiation, and intimidation of mammograms. Thermography is performed with the patient in a sitting position, naked from the waist up, while the infrared camera takes nine digital images in nine different positions. There is no physical contact from the infrared camera and the entire imaging test only takes 10 minutes. The rest of the time is spent on consulting about the risk level and how to reduce it.
Results are practically instantaneous. “Once the images are taken, I will read the results in front of the patient, explain what I am seeing, and answer any questions,” Dr. Dekel says. “When women see those thermography images on the computer screen, it is very personal; it’s powerful; they are ready to make the necessary life style changes to reduce their risk. . . it is so different from a mammogram.”
“We need to bring thermography to the attention of women everywhere,” concludes Dr. Dekel. “We must base health decisions on knowledge and not fear. People thank me for opening this window, and I am happy to do so . . . I do thermography for very deep personal and medical reasons.”
Dr. Moshe Dekel former Assistant Clinical Professor at the OB-GYN department in Stony Brook, N.Y. He is Board Certified in Thermography, and can be reached at (516) 817-1770 or www.drdekel.com