With all of the hoopla over mammograms and thermography, I decided to give thermography a go. I had no idea what to expect at my first thermography appointment but it was quite an interesting experience. An experience you might be interested in, if you’ve ever considered thermography for yourself.
Please note: I am not a physician or anywhere close to one. This article is here to relay my experience with thermography. I will leave the debate of thermography to the experts. You can read more about the pros of thermography here or the cons here.
I made the thermography appointment and received a packet in the mail telling me how to prepare for thermography along with a questionnaire.
Preparing for Thermography
- Wait three months after breast surgery, or the completion of chemotherapy or radiation before your thermography.
- Avoid any natural or artificial tanning for three days prior to your thermography.
- Avoid self-examination, clinical examinations, ultrasound, or X-Ray Mammogram three days prior to thermography.
- If you have had a fever within 36 hours of the scheduled thermography, you will need to reschedule.
- Avoid physical stimulation that may cause inflammation for 24 hours prior to thermography.
- Avoid hot yoga, sauna, steam-room or hot/cold packs directly contacting the breasts for 24 hours prior to thermography.
- Do not shave your underarms or use skin creams, lotions, deodorants, or powders on your breasts or underarms on your appointment day.
- With your Doctor’s permission, avoid Nitroglycerin, Niacin, Niacin patch, or any migraine medications for 12 hours before your thermography appointment.
- Avoid tobacco and caffeinated, energy, or hot beverage drinks two hours before thermography appointment.
- Do not exercise, bathe or shower one hour before thermography appointment.
- Avoid necklaces that touch the breasts or cleavage.
- Wear a hair band to secure hair above shoulders for the thermography.
- Use the restroom prior to examination.
I arrived at the clinic, checked in, and used the restroom. I’m so obedient that way!
Quickly afterwards, I was whisked away to the thermography room. This room is outfitted with a computer, camera, examination bed, a bin of ice water, towel, and a wheelie stool sat in the middle of the room on top of a large piece of paper.
After going over my questionnaire, the thermographer left the room and I undressed from the waist up. I removed my socks and shoes and tied my hair up in a mom bun with a binder I had brought.
I was instructed to sit on the doctor’s stool, in the middle of the room, with my hands above my head in order to refrain from creating heat. I was able to use my phone or read, although my shoulders got a little tired holding my phone up for so long.
I sat for 15 minutes on this stool in the middle of the room, half naked with my muffin top spilling over my jeans, and my hands over my head.
I was assured that the door would be locked and the thermographer would knock and use a key to enter after my cooling time.
The thermographer entered the room with her key and was very pleasant. She was incredibly professional, keeping her eyes on mine as we conversed.
The camera was situated, I kept my hands resting on my head, and she took a straight on picture, had me rotate one quarter to the right for another shot, and then one quarter to the left for the final picture of that round.
The most challenging part for me was the next part. I was to place my hands in a tub of icy water for 90 seconds. It happened to be winter, the room was cold (on purpose), and I was FREEZING!
I was given a towel to dry my hands and repeated the same poses for an additional three pictures.
I was then given the option for a breast exam which was done on the examination table.
That was it!
I got dressed, went home, and waited for the results.
The results came back quite quickly and, my left breast showed TH-3 while my right was at a normal TH-1. Breast thermograms are graded on a scale from TH-1 – TH-5.
Read more about understanding your breast thermogram report.
My Breast Health Game Plan
I followed up with my Naturopath who gave me a series of supplements to take and requested thermography again in three months.
Here’s what I did:
- Read Epigenetics for Breast Cancer Prevention
- Avoided Caffeine
- Avoided plastics as much as possible
Plastics was the most challenging part as, once you try to avoid it, you will find it everywhere. I stopped drinking out of plastic water bottles, avoided any canned food items, asked for paper instead of plastic at the grocery store, and asked for receipts to be emailed when possible. Seriously! There are plastics you just can’t avoid but I tried my best to avoid them when I could.
Supplements I added:
- DIM Enhanced
- Vitamin E
- Evening Primrose Oil
- Fish Oil
These supplements were on top of other supplements I already take including K2-D3.
Iodine was given as a prescription. I was instructed to roll it on my breasts two to three nights a week wearing pajamas that would be okay to stain since the iodine stains. If I had a reaction to it, I was to mix it half and half with an organic oil. I was also told the iodine would probably not be seen on my skin when I woke up as my body will have absorbed it all. Sure enough, there was no trace of iodine the next morning. After a few weeks, I did break out in a rash so I used organic non GMO olive oil mixed with the iodine and all was well.
Side note: When I picked up the iodine, I was also offered a roller bottle to apply the iodine. The roller bottle was clear glass and about the size of a deodorant bottle. It made it super easy and less messy to apply the iodine. Iodine stains your skin. Of course, my body absorbs it quite rapidly but it’s nice not to have that staining all over your hands.
The night before my second, follow-up thermography I was quite nervous. Had I done enough? Would I have to pay out of pocket for an ultrasound?
I went through the thermography experience again, minus the final exam, and waited.
The thermography was done on a Monday and I received a phone call Friday saying both breasts were now TH-1 and completely normal!
What a relief!
Will I do breast thermography again? More than likely! I will also continue to take steps for breast health by continuing some of the supplements, avoiding plastics as much as possible, limiting caffeine, and Stop Wearing Bras!
Okay! Okay! I wear bras but I’ve given up the underwire bras and try to go braless as often as possible! Dense breasts don’t like to be confined.
Yes, I’m a hippie!
Don’t you want to be a hippie too?
Please, let me reiterate, I am simply relaying my experience with breast thermography and what I did with the results. I have absolutely no credentials to tell you how to handle your own breast health. Your doctor will be able to help you further!