While breast cancer continues to pose life-threatening risk to women globally, its diagnosis presents greater challenges for healthcare providers, given the painful nature of screening methods like X-ray mammography. IR thermography, which is a non-invasive breast imaging technology used by CURAs MAMRIT System, can be the best alternative to screen women any number of times to increase their chances of survival many fold.
Calculating the Risk
Breast cancer incidences in India are estimated to double by 2025. But studies have shown that unlike other cancers, early detection of breast cancer can reduce one-third of deaths. However, using X-ray mammography for screening purpose in younger women population in India poses a challenge, as those with dense breast cannot be imaged frequently.
Women who undergo X-ray mammography once, avoid it in future due to painful experience. Hence, there is a need for painless breast cancer screening without any radiation such as IR thermography, which can be used on same subject any number of times.
How Thermography Works?
Computerised breast thermography is the visual representation of the distribution of temperature patterns exerted on the skin surface due to the presence or absence of any underlying pathology and the regional vascularity. The thermal patterns are highly sensitive to the environmental factors in the examination area and are a major drawback of the conventional thermography devices. But despite this drawback, thermography has shown results of improving survival rate of over 80 per cent patients in developed countries.
MAMRIT is a novel product designed and developed by TUSCANO, a CURA company. MAMRIT System (Mammary Rotational Infrared Thermographic System) for breast imaging is a non-invasive, image acquisition and processing system for monitoring breast tissue changes without any radiation. It comprises a high resolution IR camera, integrated with the inbuilt temperature control and monitoring system, a multiaxial rotating arm and positioning set up that are enclosed within a closed chamber and the special design on its top as the patient couch used for patient positioning. The configuration of the device enables is to capture an image all through 360 degrees of each breast.
This No Touch Mode breast imaging visualises up to 24 frames of each breast on its side views and on two temperature conditions. Around 100 images are acquired and used for analysis.
Based on the recent clinical studies, it is found that the device can be used for:
Screening purpose “ as a primary imaging modality prior to ultrasound, as additional information from thermography can be used as baseline for ultrasound.
Therapy effectiveness monitoring “ in case of chemotherapy to find whether the patient is responding to the drug and/ or its characterisation.
Compatibility with other imaging modalities
The various frames captured in thermography can directly be correlated with ultrasound clock position. Also, the acquired thermal images are stored in DICOM format and there is a provision to import other modality images for comparison with the thermography images facilitating clinical analysis.
It is the first and simple solution providing all necessary inputs for further uation towards diagnosis. For younger women, it can be used along with ultrasound for periodical followups until a clinical course of action towards correction can be taken. IR based thermography can be used any number of times among elderly women for periodical monitoring. For cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, this can be a facilitating tool to find tissue response to treatment and further on changing the course of treatment.