Recently, I had the pleasure to experience a holistic alternative to the conventional routine mammogram, called a thermography breast study.
Being adopted and having inherited a history of breast cancer in my birth family mixed with the emergence of a mysterious pain in my breast, I knew this was the conjunction to my breast health journey. A subject I always procrastinated. I did not want my birth family's genetic predisposition into my story. An out of sight, out of mind kinda thing. While there is some truth to that, as I mature, I realize that prevention in the now is key, rather than obstruction in the future.
Like every aspect in my life, I prefer to weave the holistic route and body autonomy. What can I do for this vessel, that is the most supportive, vital, gentle, and nourishing thing. And as much as, I like to pour myself into organic salads and skincare, that also trickles into our breast health and screenings.
After some diving down into the rabbit's hole, I discovered that mammograms come with radiation exposure, tissue compression, and over diagnoses which is a tad counterproductive, no? Although, the FDA approves mammograms, there is zero formal standard regulating the procedure. In spite, mammograms have saved countless lives (amongst my birth and adoptive family members themselves), it seems like the negative effects are being ignored.
Thermography, however, offers a safer, non-invasive, and radiation free alternative. As well as the benefit of earlier detention of abnormalities... in some instances, up to 10 years sooner than the latter screening method!
The skin is a brilliant system, communicating and sharing information amongst all the body systems. Thermography measures and evaluates that information, giving us a story of what our body is trying to communicate with us. Thermography quite literally checks yourself before you wreck yourself.
This route of screening, highly aligns with women who have dense breast tissue, family history of breast cancer, and fibrocystic breasts like myself.
Thermography uses a highly specialized infrared camera that measures the amount of thermal energy emitted by our body. Resulting, in a digitally analyzed map that shows heat patterns. The intention is to identify areas of thermal abnormalities related to injuries, physiological changes, structural changes, inflammation and more.
Abnormal cells multiply, drawing extra blood flow. This localized increase in circulative activity causes more heat to be emitted. Thermography reveals that increased thermal energy. A board-certified thermographer then analyzes the results of your study and offers customized recommendations.
The whole process is very easy peasy. After you arrive to your appointment, the practitioner will lead you to a room where you sit down in front of a thermography camera. The practitioner will ask you to remove your top and wear the provided gown. You will then discuss your health background with your practitioner, while you wait for your body temperature to cool down. Once you are chilled, the photo shoot begins. The practitioner will get multiple shots 3-4 feet away from your body: front, back, side. Boom, that's it, and now you can go treat yourself to a matcha latte. Within a few days, you will receive your study report. From that, that is your baseline. It is important to mention, to continue to utilize thermography every 3-6 months to monitor, if any, changes. If doable, ultrasounds, MRI's, and even self-exams are also great alternatives to mammograms as well.
In my experience, this has been such an eye opening, exposé (literally and figuratively), successful modality. I'll be here, breaking up with my procrastination and let my breast chronicles continue. I hope this resonates with you, and you are able to explore all of the above. Keep in the back of your subconscious mind somewhere, that prevention in the now is key, rather than obstruction in the future!
If you are local to South Florida, I highly recommend Nicole Austin at Choice Thermography.