No - each test sees different breast health characteristics. A mammogram is an anatomical test (a breast x-ray) that looks for masses in the breast tissue, while a thermogram is a physiological test that looks for changes in blood vessel circulation within the breast. Breast thermography is a test to assess breast health and monitor dietary and lifestyle changes.
In NZ, the National Screening Unit currently recommends that women aged 45 and over have screening mammograms every two years. BreastScreen Aotearoa offers free mammograms for women in the 45 to 69 eligible age range. For more information click here.
If you are still having monthly cycles your appointment is best scheduled in the first 15 days before pre-menstrual breast changes occur. If you are post menopausal you can schedule your appointment anytime.
Yes, thermography is a safe, non-invasive, non-contact test with no radiation. Thermography simply creates a
thermal image of your breasts by measuring the heat emitted naturally by the body. Thermography is approved by
the FDA and has been used in the United States and Europe for over 30 years alongside mammography.
No. Thermography identifies abnormal physiological changes in your breasts. Mammography, a type of x-ray,
identifies certain structures in the breast that can potentially be cancer. With both mammography and
thermography, definitive diagnosis can only be obtained through other procedures such as a biopsy.
An appointment costs $240 including GST. This covers the initial imaging appointment, the analysis of the scans,
and a full written report.
Yes, breast implants do not interfere with thermography. Breast thermography is painless and safe, using no
radiation or compression. It can be used effectively and safely for all women including pregnant or nursing
women, women with dense breast tissue and women with breast implants.
After disrobing from the waist up, you sit in a temperature controlled room (approximately 18 -20°C). A number
of images of the breasts are taken from different angles there is then a resting period of 10 minutes before the
next set of images are taken There is no contact with the breasts at any stage during the procedure. These
images are then analysed and sent to you 5 to 7 working days following your appointment. All of our appointments
are with female technicians.
At the beginning of your appointment you will be asked to disrobe from the waist up in order for the
thermogram images to be taken. For this reason, it is a good idea to wear a skirt, trousers or shorts to your
No, a referral is not necessary.
This depends on the results of your first thermogram. With no abnormal indications and depending on your age, we
will generally recommend an annual thermogram. If your scan shows changes, depending on the level of risk, you
will be asked to have a follow up appointment sooner.
Because the camera measures the heat as it is reflected off the body, it’s not as sensitive for any organs deep
inside the body. The heat from them is masked by the body tissue that covers it. Thermal imaging does not
penetrate into body tissues. (One of the reasons it is so safe).
Types of heat/inflammation that are obvious on the surface:
- dental infection
- sinus infection
- thyroid, kidney
- Varicose veins
- joint inflammation
It is because the breasts are superficial and relatively cooler, that thermography is useful to detect
breast disease and indications of cancer. The blood vessels that supply a tumour are not normal breast blood
vessels, they have a different metabolic signature. Thermography is not as useful for detecting indications of
cancer in internal organs.