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October 31, 1977

Thermography of the Breast: Current Status and Future Expectations

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Diagnostic Radiology, University of Texas System Cancer Center, M. D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute, Houston.

JAMA. 1977;238(18):1953-1954. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280190055034

IN THE early 1970s, clinical thermography of the breast appeared to be a technique that would soon be well established. True-positive rates for carcinoma of the breast were in the area of 70% to 85%. The false-positive rates were in the 15% to 40% range.1 While it was well recognized that thermography was not a method that could afford a specific diagnosis, it was hoped that an abnormal thermogram could be an adequate prescreener, identifying many breast cancers with a noninvasive, quick, inexpensive technique. Mammography could then be used in this substantially smaller percentage of the population, thereby reducing the radiation exposure to the population at large as well as reducing time and expense in screening women for breast cancer.

In an attempt to evaluate this idea, an investigative effort into thermography was included in 27 screening centers established throughout the country in the American Cancer Society—National Cancer Institute