Thermography, also known as digital infrared imaging, is based on the theory that because tumors require their own blood supply and thus make a lot of blood vessels, they will look different than regular tissue during thermography.
Is thermography better than mammography for detecting breast cancer?
In short: no. Mammography is the only technique that has the potential to detect very small and very early cancers and pre-cancers. Some websites claim that thermography can be used to detect inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) years before it starts. This is not true. Thermography has been around for a long time and has been very well studied, but it has never been shown to be a good tool for finding breast cancer. The problem is that even though new blood vessels come very early, they are a two-way street. Once they exist, cancer cells have a way out of the breast, and so by the time thermography shows a cancer, it is not really “early” enough to make a difference. Mammography isn’t 100% accurate, but for now it is the very best tool we have. Only mammograms can find microcalcifications, the tissue that is on its way to becoming cancer but hasn’t become cancer yet. Microcalcifications do not show up on ultrasound, MRI, or thermography.