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Complementary Medicine
Questions about Integrative and Complementary Medicine
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AskedPublicly Submitted Question
10/11/2003What is your opinion of thermograms for keeping an eye on breast health in between less frequent mammograms? I am extremely small-breasted and now also overweight. If it were not for fat, I'd have no breasts at all. The fat is very dense which apparently makes it hard for the radiologist to read the films. I often have to wait over several hours and go back in for 3 and 4 re-takes, or go back for multiple visits for each annual mammogram. It is such an ordeal that I find myself not going in annually as I should. I'm 46 y.o., have no history of breast cancer (or any other cancers) in my family, no abnormal mammograms, do monthly breast checks, and annual physicals where the MD does all the physical/visual breast exam, and then orders the "annual" mammo. The problem is I put off having the mammo for several years at a time because it's so awful. It's by far the most trauma my breast is subjected to and it can't be healthy for any tissue to be squished and zapped that much. I understand that mammography would be required to resolve any suspicions, but can thermography be used until/unless there is something to be suspicious about? If not thermography, are there any other preventions you can offer as an alternative to annual mammos? MRI? Thanks!
RepliedJHU's Breast Center Reply
10/16/2003thermograms are still research. the standard of care of screening remains mammography. remember you are doing this to stay on top of things... it just takes a few minutes and though may be unpleasant can save your life. for women who are high risk, doctors may recommend MRI but rarely do for screening without a significant family history or breast tissue so dense that mammography isn't felt to be useful.

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