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May 6, 1968

Thermography in Mass Screening for Occult Breast Cancer

Author Affiliations

From Hennepin County General Hospital, Minneapolis.

JAMA. 1968;204(6):419-422. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140190001001

Thermography as a potential method for screening large segments of the population for breast cancer was studied in Minneapolis in a group of 2,523 volunteer women. There was an unacceptably large group wherein the thermogram was read as abnormal but no lesion could subsequently be proved. The reliability of the method was inadequate, since out of four patients diagnosed as having breast cancer, only one was found by thermogram. The examining physician diagnosed two of the lesions as suspicious and these were missed by the thermographic technique. The remaining lesion was missed by the examining physician and an initial reading of the thermogram as suspicious was changed to normal. The presence of technical difficulties and inability to examine women with large, pendulous breasts seemed to further invalidate this method as a logical screening procedure.