FDA warning: Thermography not a substitute for mamagrophy

The Investigators

CHARLESTON, S.C (WCBD) — Thermography is a noninvasive tool that uses an infrared camera to produce images that show the patterns of heat and blood flow on or near the surface of the body.

According to the Professional Academy of Clinical Thermology, the heat patterns can indicate the disease processes.

Cancer survivor Colleen Cole-Velasquez was attracted to thermography because it doesn’t use radiation.

“I felt that this was the test that would be less invasive. It wasn’t exposing me to radiation,” said Cole-Velasquez.

Several clinics across the Lowcountry offer thermography as a breast cancer screening method but the Food and Drug Administration is warning against using it as a stand alone method.

“The FDA is alerting women, health care providers, and people getting breast cancer screening, that thermography is not an effective alternative to mammography and should not be used in place of mammography for breast cancer screening or diagnosis.”

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

The FDA warning followed several reports that facilities misled patients into believing that thermography is an “alternative or better option than mammography.”

According to the FDA, some facilities made inaccurate, unsupported, and misleading claims, such as thermography can find breast cancer years before it would be detected.

The Count on 2 Investigators sat down with Anthony Piana, the President of the Professional Academy of Clinical Thermology. PACT serves more than 100 clinics across the country including Merge Medical Center in Mount Pleasant.

Piana said he is always transparent with his patients.

“I do tell each and every patient that this is an additional test, an adjutant test, this is not a stand alone test and I am very clear about that,” Piana said.

Cole-Velasquez said she knows the thermography is not a replacement to tradition screening methods but still find comfort in the method.

“This is not in place of your regular medical treatment,” said Cole-Velasquez. “This is just something to supplement it and maybe be able to alleviate my mind and that’s all I want,” she added.

In February, the FDA issued a warning letter to Total Thermal Imaging, Inc. for marketing and promoting thermography devices for uses that have not received marketing clearance or approval.

Several other facilities have also received similar letters:

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