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Photo by Ray Bilcliff on

I had a questionable mammogram last fall. I had to go back the following week for a 3D mammogram and ultrasound. I was scared. I did what I was told. No cancer was found in the follow-up testing, so I was told to come in for another mammogram in the spring.

I had some time to digest what was happening. You just can’t digest it when you’re put in fear survival mode. I didn’t like the idea of getting more radiation from another mammogram. One in a year is ok but 3 or 4 in a year can increase the risk of breast cancer in some women.

But what choice did I have? I decided to explore that question. And I learned about thermography. Mammograms use radiation to look into the breast tissue but radiation does have risks. Cancer causing risks. When cancer is present in the body it creates an increased blood supply to the cancerous area and thus creates more heat. Thermography simply takes a picture of the heat coming off your body. No radiation. Just a picture.

Cancer will show up as a heat bloom. The FDA has approved thermography as an adjunct tool to mammography. So I decided to have my spring and summer follow-ups in thermography rather than be exposed to more radiation by traditional mammograms. And I like natural non-invasive non-traditional methods anyway. I was curious.

I was led to a cool room with the thermography technician (a woman thankfully). And I had to unclothe the areas being scanned so my skin could cool off and the underlying body tissue heat could come through. The scan was simply done by taking a picture with an infrared camera. I sat in a swivel chair and faced different directions. Then it was done.

A couple of weeks later I received the scan pictures and results. There were no heat blooms from the breasts. Everything was normal. I had a follow-up thermography scan a couple of weeks ago. This time I opted for the full body scan that included the breast exam. I thought, “why not, may as well see if I have any areas of inflammation, or other problems.”

My thyroid was checked, the carotid arteries were checked, arms and legs and torso muscles and fascia was checked, TMJ was checked and my head was checked. I was surprised to see a heat signature over the left side of my face where I had a tooth removed a year ago … there’s still inflammation and perhaps infection in that area and you can bet I’m taking that picture to my dentist.

There was a heat signature in the areas where I have low level chronic pain (neck and shoulders) showing fascial inflammation. There were some inflamed areas in my hands and wrists (that was a surprise since those areas don’t hurt) and some inflammation in the lumbrosacral area.

I saw that my thyroid and carotid areas were fine and that my breast tissue was normal. There were a lot of turquoise areas on my body (blue and green are the ‘normal’ good colors without inflammation, whereas red and orange and yellow are inflamed areas).

It was fun to get the results, to get a literal and figurative picture of how my body is doing. A full body thermography scan is definitely something I will continue to do as a regular wellness assessment annually. And yes, it is a few hundred dollars out-of-pocket, but I’m worth it. My health is worth it. ‘Aging well’ is worth it!

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