As a way to drive toward better healthcare at lower cost, we urge savvy consumers to more fully understand their bodies and their biology, and to commit to making improvements. One way to do so is to take advantage of various diagnostic tests and screens as they continue to become more and more affordable and accessible.
A great real-world example of accessible diagnostics is the Thermography screening currently offered by Dr. Ellie Campbell, DO at Campbell Family Medicine in Cumming, Georgia. The screening is specifically intended to encourage breast health in both women and men. Natalie Patierno, CMF Office Manager, says, “Through the years, there has been some confusion around just when women should start having regularly scheduled mammograms. Some doctors suggest age 50 or so, some suggest earlier. It’s been a bit of a moving target.” “But,” she says, “breast cancer is the number one killer of women ages 35-49 and is much more prevalent in men than people realize. So, why wait?”
We think that’s a good question. We also think the answer is obvious. You shouldn’t.
Ms. Patierno is quick to note that Thermography is NOT a replacement for self-examination and mammography, but rather an early detection adjunct to them. Self-examination and mammography are dependable methods for detecting an actual growth or physical abnormality. Thermography is different.
Utilizing safe and harmless digital infrared imaging, Thermography detects increases in the surface temperatures of the breast caused by increased metabolic activity and vascular circulation around pre-cancerous tissue and the area surrounding a developing breast cancer. As with most things, early detection is key. After all, as the old adage says, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
“There is a right way and a wrong way to administer thermographic testing,” Patierno points out. “A person should not simply walk out of a hot car, for example, and just start the test. Great care and expertise is needed to ensure the veracity and the accuracy of the screen.” At Campbell Family Medicine, the person is first acclimated to the environment by sitting topless for 15 to 20 minutes. This “cooling off” period is important. Then, the first set of images is rendered. Following the first set of images, the person’s hands are then placed in 45 degree water for one minute. “When exposed to cold temperatures,” Ms. Patierno says, “the body auto-reacts by protecting the brain and the heart by conserving heat. Vessels constrict and circulation is slowed everywhere else.”
The vessels around nutrient-starved, pre-cancerous tissue in the breast do not constrict however, and increased surface temperature remains detectable. After the cold water exposure, a second set of images is rendered – a mirror to the first set. This methodology, overseen by an expert technician, helps ensure a reliable test result.
The test costs $225 and is available to everyone, not just members of the practice. Costs include the test as described, a findings report, color copies of the images, and recommendations for ongoing breast health.
That’s a deal. Take advantage of it if you can.
About Campbell Family Medicine
Campbell Family Medicine is a Concierge Membership style practice established by Dr. Ellie Campbell, DO. Dr. Campbell is dedicated to holistic, integrative, and functional medicine for the whole family. Dr. Campbell and Natalie Patierno are also co-founders of Revolution Practice, an organization dedicated to helping other physicians relieve burnout and achieve work-life balance by helping them re-imagine their medical practice models.
Visit Campbell Family Medicine (and schedule a Thermography screening!) at http://campbellfamilymedicine.com/
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