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Hereditary Cancer Info > Risk Management > Breast Cancer Screening

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Breast Cancer Screening

Learn about the steps that people at high risk for cancer can take to manage their risk and protect their health.


Currently, breast screening experts recommend two types of imagining tests to screen for breast cancer. Mammography is an X-ray of the breast while MRI uses magnet and radio waves to make computer images of the breasts. MRI is usually reserved for women who are at high risk for breast cancer. 

Other, experimental screening tests are currently being studied in clinical trials. One of these is breast thermography which is also a breast imaging test.   Unlike mammography and breast MRI, thermography uses a special camera that senses heat.  During mammography, a camera records variations in heat over the skin that covers the breasts. A computer then makes a heat map or thermogram of the breast showing any changes in temperature. 

Currently, neither the US Food and Drug Administration nor the American College of Radiology views thermography as a useful breast cancer screening test. However, infrared technology and imaging have improved significantly and there are current clinical trials looking at the use of thermography in other diseases. Results of a recently completed clinical trial studying thermography and breast cancer screening have yet to be reported.

Updated 04/26/2017

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