Thermography is a body heat-measuring sensor used in a number of different industries to serve a variety of purposes. Also known as Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging (DITI), the technique can be used as a diagnostic test for mesothelioma and other cancer patients. Mesothelioma is an aggressive, highly fatal disease directly caused by exposure to asbestos. Because initial exposure to asbestos fibers goes largely undetected and the latency period is extraordinarily long (between 20 and 50 years), mesothelioma is not often detected until its later stages. Late detection accounts for the extremely poor prognosis for mesothelioma patients, however, new research into new diagnostic techniques offers hope for earlier detections, and, ultimately, more survivors.
Thermographs produce maps of the body, recording the cold and heat produced in specific areas using thermal imaging cameras. This method is currently being used to aid in breast cancer detection, among other heath care conditions. In terms of temperature, the human body is typically symmetrical, so any abnormalities in thermographs are easy to spot, and clearly indicate a change in normal body functioning. Mesothelioma attorneys anticipate advancements in thermograph technology to aid in mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other asbestos-related illnesses.
Thermography offers a non-invasive, non-radiation diagnostic for those seeking alternative techniques. In terms of breast cancer detection, several medical researchers affirm that thermography is capable of measuring changes in heat long before conventional technologies, such as mammograms, can detect tumor masses.
Cancerous cells in the body cause blood vessels to increase in size, which produces more heat in that region of the body. Through heat detection, doctors are able to spot potential cancer growths related to blood glow or vessel expansion while they are still developing.
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Those seeking alternative methods such as thermography may be disconcerted by the potential of adverse complications from CT scans, x-rays, or the like. Researchers have found that out of approximately 72 million CT scans performed each year in the United States, 29,000 excess cancers occur, along with 15,000 excess deaths in the future. . Mesothelioma patients seeking alternative techniques know that the balance of risks and benefits in conventional treatments is not always equal, or even in a patient’s favor. CT scans expose patients to radiation amounting to between 30 and 440 chest x-rays, a danger that is too often ignored.
A thermograph procedure usually takes between 10 and 45 minutes, and is used clinically not only to detect abnormalities, but to monitor healing in the body as well. There are no restrictions in terms of eating or drinking, though patients must remove all jewelry and wear a surgical gown during the test. Results are determined by board certified Thermologists, who are extensively trained in this field.
In addition to breast cancer, thermology is used in diagnostic procedures involving head and neck vessel diseases, neuro-musculo-skeletal disorders, vascular diseases, and in jaw and teeth decay. Thermographs are also able to detect a patient’s state of pain through changing heat distribution on skin surface. This enables doctors to better quantify the amount of pain their patient is in, and treat this specific pain more effectively.
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Though the concept and technique of thermographies are quite simple, its development could significantly aid in the early detection of mesothelioma and potentially save thousands of lives. More than 3,000 Americans die of the cancer every year, and because asbestos is still used throughout the world, death counts will continue to rise for the indefinite future.
Scientists and medical researchers are actively trying to improve thermograph technology so that it may be an accepted screening tool for early mesothelioma detection. Technological advancements in thermal imaging cameras in particular will aid in this development. If you were diagnosed with mesothelioma, or suspect you were exposed to asbestos at any point in your life, talk to your doctor about receiving a thermograph. Victims of asbestos exposure have important legal rights, and may be eligible to compensation. Contact a mesothelioma lawyer at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for a free evaluation.