What is breast thermography?

Breast Thermography is a valid, safe and non-invasive breast screening technique. The procedure takes only a few minutes, and there is no touching or squeezing of the breast.


Breast Thermography uses special infrared-sensitive cameras to digitally record images of the variations in surface temperature of the human breast. The recorded images are called Thermograms.


Blood vessels, cysts, other benign sources, and metabolic processes such as growing breast tumors all radiate heat from within the breast. A portion of the radiated heat reaches the surface of the breast, where it composes a stable thermal pattern which is what is measured in thermal imaging.​


A Breast Thermography examination consists of recording these thermal patterns and interpreting them according to a strict and complicated analytical procedure. When analyzed properly by highly trained individuals, the images implicitly disclose various pathological and abnormal processes. The breast's Thermal Score (TH rating) is dependent on the characteristics of more than twenty different thermal signs, which taken together indicates the patient's risk for breast cancer development. The range of scores is divided into five classes. Each class indicates an assessment of the patient's risk. The five classes are Normal, Borderline Normal, Borderline Abnormal, Abnormal, and Severely Abnormal.

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Patient Preparation for Thermal Imaging

When the patient's presentation or the examination and its environment are not controlled, the diagnostic value of Thermography suffers. Several internal and external factors have a significant effect on the examination's integrity and credibility. To enhance and assure the accuracy of Thermographic studies, particularly serial examinations, it is essential to minimize the effects of these variables.


Relatively small rooms are required for patient cooling and evaluation; a typical examination room has proven to be generally acceptable. Sources of heat or cold which significantly affect the ambient environment of the cooling and examination rooms should be eliminated. High energy lights or office equipment, warm window areas, or drafts caused by heating or cooling equipment should be particularly avoided. If more than one room is used for cooling and/or examination, the rooms must be maintained at the same temperature, and transition from the cooling area to the examination room should be performed as quickly as possible.

The temperature of the cooling/examination room should be 19C-22°C (. 67°F - 72°F). Note that temperature stability, not just the absolute temperature, is important. Thermograms performed in environments below 66°F or above 74°F are unsuitable for interpretation.

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What is the "Cold Challenge"?

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After the 1st set of images, you will be asked to plunge your hands into cool (10°C or 50°F) water for 60 seconds. This is known as a functional test - cool water will produce a physiological response that will lead to vasoconstriction of you blood vessels.


Normal blood vessels will contract and cool down while blood vessels feeding abnormal cells will not since their metabolic rate is much higher. The technician will then repeat the process of taking the images for a before and after view.

The cold challenge test provides us with additional information that aids in our comprehensive analysis of your images. Thermography is a test of physiology that measures physiological response (dynamic testing vs. static testing), thus a cold challenge test provides us with additional physiological assessment.


Please note, if you have Raynaud’s or any other condition that would prevent you from taking the cold challenge test during your thermography session, please inform your thermography technician, who will provide you with an alternative protocol that will not affect your condition.