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A 45 years old female from Nagappattinam came with complaints of pain in the right breast. When I examined her, she had a vague lumpy feel in the right breast and otherwise she was normal. Usually such vague lumps are called as fibrocystic changes. These occur due to hormonal changes and are generally harmless. Vitamin tablets and reassurance is all that is required.

However considering her age, I wanted to be doubly sure before I advise the treatment for this patient. So I asked for a breast screening. Breast screening generally includes mammogram and an ultrasound correlation. But in our hospital, along with the usual mammogram and ultrasound, we also have a test called thermogram. This thermogram is an imaging that uses infra-red rays to detect early changes in the breast and it is useful to detect early cancers also. Thermogram has lot of advantages over mammogram like being painless, no radiation, safe in pregnancy, useful in young individuals etc. But it has not replaced mammogram. However in combination with the other two imaging modalities, it is complementary and increases the sensitivity of breast screening and helps in detecting early disease.

Our hospital, Harshamitra Cancer Centre is the only hospital in the entire country to use all these three modalities for a comprehensive breast screening. Today I experienced the importance of such a combination screening method. This patient from Nagapattinam underwent the three tests. The mammogram and the ultrasound suggested a probably non-cancerous condition. However, the thermogram was strongly in favour of cancer. So a needle aspiration test was done and it proved to be cancer.

Thanks to thermogram! If only the regular investigations mammogram and ultrasound were considered for further decision making for this patient, we would have advised simple reassurance and we would have missed the cancer. Thermogram helped in detecting cancer when the other standard tests have failed. This patient is now advised cancer treatment.

CategoryOncologist Diary
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