Thermalogica has been featured in the press numerous times. These are featured below, together with some other useful articles on the benefits of Thermography. Click on an image, or scroll down the page, to read the full transcribed article.
June 7th 2015, Western Morning News
The Western Morning News shared Terri and Lisa’s story and how their friendship lead to them launching Thermalogica and Functional Health Screening. Read the full story here.
Thermography neither subjects the patient to a dose of radiation nor needs to have the breast crushed between plates – article by Bryan Hubbard
Gotzsche, came to similar conclusions. They took another look at eight studies of mammography involving around 600,000 women aged 39 to 74. Mammography didn’t reduce the number of deaths from cancer over a 10-year period, even though the rates of lumpectomy, mastectomy and use of radiotherapy were far higher among women who had been screened. The women treated went through psychological distress, anxiety and uncertainty for years – and yet, for too many of them, it was utterly unnecessary because the mammogram had got it wrong. The Cochrane researcher’s estimate that, for every 2000 women screened, one will avoid dying from breast cancer and 10 healthy women will get a false-positive.
Then there are the two mismatched worlds that seem to be happily coexisting: the researchers who keep uncovering inconvenient truths about mammography; and the women who are the targets of screening. The two Swiss researchers were “disconcerted” by the women’s perceptions about the benefits of mammography. One study by the Swiss Cantonal Health Office in Bellinzona, which surveyed 4,140 women, found that 68 per cent thought mammography reduces the rate of breast cancer deaths by at least half. As the research team concluded, this rose-tinted view of mammograms throws into doubt the possibility of true informed consent.
Looking back on the controversy they have created, the Swiss researchers not that the man argument against their conclusions was that it contradicted the global consensus of leading experts in the field, which “made us appreciate our unprejudiced perspective resulting from our lack of exposure to past consensus-building efforts by specialists in breast-cancer screening”. In other words, file under ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’.
Essentially, mammography simply isn’t fit for purpose, they conclude. “From an ethical perspective, a public health programme that does not clearly produce more benefits than harms is hard to justify. Providing clear, unbiased information, promoting appropriate care and preventing over-diagnosis and over-treatment would be a better choice.”
What’s the alternative?
For 30 years until the mid-1980s, thermography, or digital infrared thermal imaging, was considered a viable alternative to mammography; radiologist saw it as complementary and often used the two screening technologies together. Essentially, mammography picks up mass while thermography registers activity as reflected by heat.
It is also safer than mammography, as it neither subjects the patient to a dose of radiation nor needs to have the breast crushed between plates.
Early studies supported the technology with enthusiasm. In one, 10 per cent more cancers were detected when thermography and mammography were used together, while another found that thermography was the better ‘first alarm’ in 60 per cent of cancer cases detected.
Thermography fared even better in a study of 39,802 women, screened over a three-year period, in which researchers concluded that 30 per cent of the cancers would never have been detected had only mammography been used. Overall, an abnormal infrared image is the strongest risk indicator for the future development of breast cancer, and is 10 times as significant as a family history of the disease. In one study of around 58,000 women screened with thermography, more than a third of those who had an abnormal reading developed cancer within five years. The researchers concluded that “an abnormal thermography is the single most important marker of high risk for the future development of breast cancer”.
Other viable alternatives include clinical examination and ultrasound. Ultrasonography is an accurate follow-up procedure when a mammogram detects an abnormality and the woman is at moderate risk for breast cancer.
Mammography is the technology of choice for many of the world’s national screening programmes for breast cancer. But several new studies suggest it isn’t fit for purpose and that its cons far outweigh the pros accused the researchers of being unethical, irresponsible and adding to the breast cancer death toll. But not everyone has taken that line. Eleven of Switzerland’s 26 cantons (districts) currently offer routine mammography, but the German-speaking canton of Uri may not now be joining that number. After reading the board’s conclusions, it is reconsidering its decision to introduce a screening programme.
In response to their critics last April, two of the board’s researchers-Nikola Biller-Andorno and Peter Juni-point out three very worrying trends uncovered by their analysis. The first was that the benefits of mammography are based on outdated trials, such as those they analyzed. Since the last of the trials carried out in 1991, better and more targeted cancer treatment has been introduced, and this may have had more to do with the drop in death rates from breast cancer than the widespread use of mammography.
It seemed such a good idea at the time: routinely screen every woman over the age of 50 and you’ll reduce deaths from breast cancer by a third. And so, buoyed by such a benefit, the UK introduced its national screening programme using X-ray mammography in 1988
On the face of it, it seems to have delivered. Around the time routine mammography was introduced in the UK, 42 women per 100,000 were dying of breast cancer every year in the UK; by 2011, this had dropped to 25 women.
Today in the UK, around 1.6 million women aged between 50 and 70 years are invited to undergo routine mammography screening every year. The National Health Service points out in the invitation that mammography is saving around 1,300 lives a year by detecting breast cancer early and is the method by which one-third of breast cancers are diagnosed (although it doesn’t explain how the majority is discovered).
But this year, three major studies have said that women aren’t being told the full story about mammography. The screening programme hasn’t had much to do with the decline in breast cancer deaths, and the number of cases detected is outgunned by a factor of 10 to one for cancers ‘seen’ by the technology but which aren’t actually there (false positives). In other words, for every woman correctly diagnosed, 10 others will go through the rigors of chemotherapy, radiotherapy or even mastectomy (breast removal) to treat a cancer that was never there.
The Swiss Medical Board, an independent health assessor, started the ball rolling in February. It took a fresh look at the early studies that had ushered in the age of mammography and found them wanting. The studies, which dated from1963 to 1991 and followed 1,000 women who had been screened and a further 1,000 who hadn’t, advocated the uptake of mammography as a national screening technology, although the data didn’t actually support such emphatic conclusions. In fact, the data suggested the cons outweigh the pros.
Although mammography might save one or two lives, it will detect a further 100 false-positives case. The Swiss researchers said that health authorities should start setting a time limit on their national screening programmes with a view to winding them down, and that nobody should be thinking about setting up mass-screening programmes if they haven’t already done so.
Their conclusions have caused an uproar. The Swiss Cancer League said it was astonished, while other group’s mammography.
Even after carefully re-reading the data, it is still not at all obvious that mammography benefits outweigh the harm. The original expectation that mammography would reduce breast cancer deaths by a third was based on conclusions of the UK’s 1986 Forrest Report, which ushered in universal screening, but this relied on just two studies, both of which were inaccurate.
More recently, estimates for reductions in breast cancer deaths have varied from 10 per cent to 20 per cent, but even those benefits seem to come with strings attached.
The Canadian Breast Screening Study monitored the lives of nearly 90,000 women aged between 40 and 59, around half of whom had regular mammogram screening, while the rest had physical examinations and the usual community care. During the study, 3,250 women in the mammography group and 3,133 in the physical-examination group were diagnosed with breast cancer, and 500 and 503 of them, respectively, died. But although mammography was no better than physical examination at detecting cancer and saving lives, 22 per cent of cases detected by mammography were false positives, which triggered unnecessary invasive treatment.
The prestigious Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen, led by Peter
Most false-positive readings happen when the mammogram picks up a case of DCIS (ductal carcimona in situ) which, despite its name, very rarely turns into cancer. Because of mammography’s limitations, the oncologist must assume that each DCIS detected is malignant and so begin a process of testing and even surgery.
Around 60,000 new cases of DCIS are detected by mammography screening every year in the US alone, and yet, fewer than 5 per cent, or 3,000, develop into breast cancer. This suggests that around 57,000 American women go through the trauma of unnecessary worry, biopsies and surgery every year for no reason.
Our green guru champions a non-invasive diagnostic tool which can trace its roots back to ancient Greece
In the UK there are currently 55,000 people living with a breast cancer diagnosis, and although I haven’t had the disease, statistics show that as a woman I have a terrifying one in eight chance of developing it during my lifetime. Like so many people, I have experienced first-hand the deeply devastating effect that a diagnosis can have not only on those with the disease, but on the people around them, so of course the subject brings up strong emotions for me. This is why I so readily accepted an invitation from my good friend Lisa Portman, who I met while on tour with The Rolling Stones, to become the new ambassador for Thermalogica Health Screening. Launched in October to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness month, the venture is providing an opportunity for us to monitor our health to detect any possible early signs not only of breast cancer, but of other cancers and diseases, and act positively and accordingly. That might mean seeking conventional or alternatively treatment, or adopting a healthier lifestyle.
The use of thermobiological diagnostics is nothing new. Fascinatingly, around 480BC, Hippocrates described mud being spread over a patient’s body in order to detect underlying organ pathology in the areas that were warmer and therefore dried first. Whereas today clinical diagnostic tools such as X-ray, CT and MRI measure bodily structures, Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging (DITI) identifies metabolic processes and physiological change to aid diagnosis. However, although thermography has been around for a long time, it is only during the past 50 years that its use has increased substantially in a health context, for example when it was employed by government and airport personnel to identify cases of suspected swine flu during the 2009 pandemic.
In 1959 Dr. Ray Lawson demonstrated the skin temperature directly above a cancer in the breast was higher than that of healthy tissue. Since this discovery scientists have done more than 300,000 women, some with 12-year follow-ups. They have found breast thermography is, on average, 90 percent effective in its precision. As a future risk indicator, an abnormal thermogram is ten times more indicative than family history in breast cancer screening. In fact, it has been found that the most significant marker for a high risk of developing breast cancer is an abnormal thermogram, with research on the long-term survival of those diagnosed. There is no suggestion the process ought to replace mammography; they are complementary, as research has shown that 95 percent of early stage breast cancers can be detected with the combined use of thermography, clinical examination and mammography.
The service offered at Thermalogica Health Screening is a safe, contact- and compression-free procedure which involves taking detailed, high-resolution infrared images of the body without exposing it to radiation. The visual images, called thermograms, show abnormal patterns of heat in the body, which could represent the physiologic processes of cancer and other diseases. Although DITI is used extensively throughout America and in some parts of Europe, it is comparatively new to the UK with approximately 20 clinics offering the procedure. It’s a shame as it seems to me, in spite of the wealth of very supportive evidence; the process is not widely recognized by the medical establishment. But on the basis of all the research, it could provide a useful and cost-effective early indicator for cancers before they have a chance to spread; sometimes without even needing to resort to radical and potentially health-compromising interventions like mastectomies, chemotherapy and radiation treatment. I hope more people become aware.
Western Morning News – Aug 26th 2013
A new business launched by two Exeter women with a passion for health is aiming to give people more control over their own well-being. Business editor Liz Parks reports
Since undergoing treatment for breast cancer herself and watching her five-year old daughter, Billie, battle a brain tumour, Exeter businesswoman Terri Bainbridge has undertaken a huge amount of research into health and well-being.
As well as being convinced that most people do not know enough about the things that can affect their health, she and business partner Lisa Portman believe that medical services put more of an emphasis on treatment rather than prevention.
As a result, they set up thermal imaging with camera to detect heat in order to measure the physiological activity, creating a map of the infrared patterns of the body. Still relatively new to the UK, DITI is widely established throughout America and some parts of Europe where it is used as an aid for the diagnosis and prognosis of various health conditions including strokes, heart disease and cancers.
The non-invasive scans, which don’t emit radiation, can also help people who have picked up an injury and want to monitor their recovery. At present, the technology is available at around 20 centres in the UK. Although it is used by the NHS, particularly in the early diagnosis of diabetes, many people are unaware of its existence.
Inspiration for the business has come from Terri’s own experiences of cancer and her belief that there is more that people can do to help themselves with their health. Two years ago, she was diagnosed with stage three breast cancers at the age of 39. While undergoing chemotherapy, her four-year old daughter, Billie, was diagnosed with an in-operable brain tumour and the ‘Billie Butterfly fund’ was launched to fundraise for her treatment in America and research into the disease, raising nearly £400,000.
Despite this, Billie passed away last summer shortly after her fifth birthday. Following her operation Terri was advised that a large tumour found, which had not shown up on the mammogram, and probably started growing in her mid-twenties.
Her subsequent research into this disease led her to thermal imaging which specializes in early disease detection throughout the whole body and, although not yet widely available in the UK, it is extensively used in America for breast screening.
“When I found a small lump in my breast I was back and forth to doctors, I had a mammogram and a biopsy and then had a breast removed. They found a large tumour and I was absolutely shocked because I had presumed that a mammogram would show what was there. I started doing my research on the internet about what else I could have done. I wanted to know more about how you could tell if a lump was normal or a problem.
‘I was absolutely shocked because I had presumed that a mammogram would show what was there’ – Terri Bainbridge
Mammograms don’t start until you’re aged 50. I heard of thermal imaging and I thought ‘this sounds fascinating, why don’t more people know about this?’’’’
Thermalogica offers a number of screening packages including upper or lower half body; full body screening as well as monitoring specific parts of the body such as the breasts or areas with an injury. Unlike X-rays, ultra-sounds and mammography that show the structure of the body thermal imaging can detect subtle physiological changes that can lead to an early diagnosis.
Thermal images are taken by Terri and Lisa who are both trained as clinical thermographers, before being sent via a secured server to doctors who are trained in the methodology of reading and interpreting thermal images. A full medical report is then produced by the doctors with images archived in a secure database and future scans are compared to the earlier images to monitor any changes over a period of time.
“Thermal imaging is set apart from any other health screening tool and can show signs of disease such as diabetes before it would be detected from a blood test and potential cancer up to eight to ten years before it shows on a ted Terri over the past two years, we decided to create a company that could bring Harley Street technology to the South West without the London price tag,” said Lisa.
Terri and Lisa grew up in Cornwall, having met at college 26 years ago. Both left the South West to start working in London in 1969 where Terri worked in advertising and Lisa in the music industry. Terri set up her own ad agency and film production company, Quiet Storm, with her ex-husband Trevor Robin-son before they split up 12 years ago and she moved to Exeter to start a new bar and club, Amber Rooms, before going on to invest in property.
Lisa worked for several large record companies, until 2002 when she started working for Mick Jagger as his business manager, a role that lasted eight years and saw her accompany the music legend around the world before she decided to find a more regular job. As well as focusing on the possible health benefits of thermal imaging. Terri has also become passionate about more general health and well-being as a result of research she undertook to find out more about her own illness and Billie’s.
“We can do a lot more; people don’t think to look after themselves. The NHS is brilliant and having spent time in America, what we have got here is amazing, but it’s not preventing an increase in cancer and diabetes. If people knew the damage that things like sugar and carbonated beverages do to themselves then they would change what they put into their bodies,” she said. “I’m keen for people to start looking after themselves and doing health scans especially with breast cancer, people think ‘if I’m going to get it I’m going to get it’ but there’s an amazing amount that people can do.”