In its earliest stages of development, diagnostic infrared images for breast cancer were evaluated, much like medical X-rays, by an empirical comparison of the shapes of thermal patterns with those of established disease (pattern recognition). Subsequently, important basic scientific discoveries have provided additional and more powerful means of evaluating breast thermograms for the detection of breast cancer.
The most important means by which the human body regulates its core temperature involves a mechanism of the autonomic nervous system that modulates the flow of blood to the skin. Specific metabolic abnormalities of cancer induce great increases in the production of a powerful dilator of blood vessels called nitric oxide. Other metabolites specific to cancer stimulate the development of a specific type of abnormal blood vessels (neo-angiogenic) to feed the growth of a solid cancer beyond a very small stage. These two factors cause excessive flow (hyperemia) of core body-temperature blood channeled to the cancer and produce the “Hot Spots” detected by thermal imaging, even the very smallest cancers; even pre-cancer. The most powerful means of characterizing breast cancer’s excessive flow of core body-temperature blood is to perform an adaptive functional challenge as part of a quantitative thermal imaging procedure. A brief and controlled chill experience will challenge the adaptive mechanism of the autonomic nervous system and permits the distinction of uncontrolled blood flow that can differentiate the “Hot Spots” of breast cancer from normal breast tissue.
The best developed means of an adaptive functional challenge to indicate breast cancer by quantitative thermal imaging is a one-minute immersion of the hands into cool water between two sets of images. This “cold water challenge” has been demonstrated as a powerful component of the quantitative and objective analysis performed by our expert and Board-Certified thermologist at Therma-Scan Reference Laboratory along with pattern recognition, measured temperature differentials and time-based evolution. Anything less is to ignore important scientific discoveries and risk an inadequate evaluation.
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