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  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • December 2017
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Jane uses thermography to dispel concerns

Back when I was 30, I answered most of my medical history questions with a “no.” Does anyone in your immediate family have a history of diabetes? No. Does anyone in your family have a history of breast cancer? No. Fast forward 20 years and now the answer is “yes.”

It’s funny, as my parents got older and my siblings and I grew up all of a sudden the things they hid from us all those years started to come out. I know now I have a history of alcoholism, diabetes, stroke and cancer running in my family. It all started when my father, who has since passed away from cancer, thought it best to inform me that I should really heed my doctor’s suggestion that I get a colonoscopy at age 50 since both grandparents on my mother’s side had colon cancer. That was surprise number one. He then let it slip that my aunt (his sister) had breast cancer followed by a stroke. Surprise number two. Of course, that was when I pressed him for more dirt on the rest of the family lineage and all the other surprises came out. I took my notes, and wasn’t really too concerned until my mother found a lump in her breast in 2011 and passed away in 2013, possibly from complications of breast cancer and the other health issues. This was closer to home for me than some distant relative in another state that I never knew.

Since I have always been an avid reader, I was aware of thermography as a viable means of detecting the early stages of breast cancer. Thermography uses infrared thermal imaging, which finds thermal abnormalities in the area being scanned. For instance, cancer cells multiply faster than normal cells and cancer has a blood supply, which shows elevated heat. There is an increase of temperature in those areas that will show up in a scan before the cells would be discovered by a self-exam or mammogram. It sounded only logical to me to give it a try.

I scheduled my appointment with Chris Haase, a certified clinical thermographer and the owner of Valley Thermography in Appleton. Chris informed me over the phone what to expect at my appointment and what not to do before a breast scan: things like applying deodorant, oils or participate in brisk exercise, which would raise my core body temperature.

At my appointment I filled out a brief health history form. Then I was given privacy to change into a gown, and sat still for about 10 minutes to allow my body to adjust to the room’s temperature. After that, all I had to do was sit on a stool behind a curtain and either put my arms on my hips or raise them, sometimes pivoting the stool for side images. Chris took her time making sure she was getting good, accurate images and then in no time at all it was over. She then took time to show me the images and go over what the doctors would be looking for.

It was noninvasive, pain free and easy. The best part was not being exposed to unnecessary radiation, which actually increases the risk of breast cancer in the first place! There were no awkward poses, cold machines, painful compressions or standing topless in front of a stranger. I was quite pleased with the total experience. Especially when my results were emailed to me the next day and showed my results were “within normal limits.” Anyone who has ever read a medical report knows that it can be impossible to understand the terminology used, but this report was easy to read.

I will be making thermography a part of my preventative care to years to come! 

Valley Thermography

1111 N Lynndale Dr #202, Appleton


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