What Thermography
has done for me…
by Susie Jewell
Pioneers, game-changers, whistleblowers, cutting-edge scientists, paradigm shifters? Compliments or insults? You choose. Well let’s face it, the brave souls at Thermal Medical Imaging fit all these titles and then some…. as our friends across the pond put it. So it’s hardly surprising that those with huge financial and emotional investments in maintaining the current cancer services in a nice, safe, unchallenging stasis are throwing everything they can muster at Breast Angels.

Every paradigm-changing medical breakthrough meets with the same resistance and vicious attack. It always has done and unless human nature changes, always will. What is rather perplexing is the current surge of attack on a whole host of new and even established medical and health practices. After all, thermal imaging has been around, used and respected for over fifty years, so this current outburst of indignant and really quite virulent opposition is shocking.

It seems to me that, as the public are waking up to having far more effective and less harmful choices with regard to their health care, those who have the greatest financial investment in restricting their choice get correspondingly more mobilised in their opposition. What saddens and frightens me is the profoundly righteous fundamentalist attitude adopted by so many well intentioned and hardworking health practitioners. I do of course understand, as an ex health professional and teacher myself, that when overwhelmed by a never ending case load one tends to view any change of course with hostility. This is an unfortunate result of exhaustion and overwhelm. Whilst we can support and sympathise with our colleagues, we also have a moral responsibility to speak out and let the public know that they do have practical effective choices available to them that are currently being lied about. The culture of bullying, lying and intimidation currently deemed acceptable in this country is evil and completely destructive. It is also far from cost effective. Many of the practices under attack are very effective in maintaining health and early change detection. This will save our National Health Service a fortune which will result in greater resources being available to those who need it most.

I am one of the lucky ones. I have been lucky enough to have wonderful doctors who are willing to utilise any effective medical treatment irrespective of it’s “fashion or status”. My MS team, my GP and my specialist are all people of great integrity who have kept up to date with current research and have the intelligence to asses the research in order to recognise both bias and new findings equally. I have used Medical Thermal Imaging with great success. What do I mean by success? I had a very fast growing grade 4 HER2+, hormone negative breast cancer. Following surgery and chemotherapy I was advised that any scans to see if I was clear of cancer or whether I had grown any new tumours were pointless. It was explained to me by both my oncologist and my GP that the cancer I had was so fast growing that I would need scans every month and that monthly scans would give me cancer. I was told “Go and live your life and just be vigilant regarding the appearance of certain symptoms.” I asked what symptoms I should watch for. I was told to watch for persistent back pain, persistent headaches and persistent coughs as these could be symptoms that should be checked out. Aha! But I have Multiple Sclerosis so I have loads of headaches, get pains all the time so which pain is safe pain and which pain is a warning? Well I did some homework on imaging techniques and weighing up as much evidence as possible, mixing in a little common sense and logic, opted for thermal imaging. It made sense to me that as a woman in her 50’s, with MS and various connective tissue problems, any image will show up lumps, inflammation and unexplained physiological abnormalities. How should I know which ones to ignore and which ones warrant some kind of action. Well the initial DTI resulted in a very detailed set of images which also showed up all of the other physical issues I am dealing with. It was very accurate but also careful to say exactly what they were seeing rather than reaching conclusions. For example the report highlighted an unusually low temperature over a particular vertebrae which is a common finding with people who have a chronically over activated immune systems.

They didn’t say this means A, B or C – they pointed out patterns and made recommendations. For example one area which was very hot resulted in a recommendation that I investigate further. DTI doesn’t diagnose but is able to identify areas that require attention and is even able to suggest some of the physiological processes that could be leading to such patterns. It was incredible what they picked up. I was very impressed and as they saw quite a bit of stuff that I hadn’t even mentioned prior to the scan. I was sufficiently convinced to feel that this is one of the best forms of monitoring for me at the moment. I returned for a further scan a year later and to my delight the heat patterns on my chest showed my risk as lowered from ‘some risk’ on my left side to ‘low risk!’ However, it showed other areas where the inflammation was worse and I have now had further treatment for arterial arteritis and scleritis which so far has helped me a lot. For me, DTI is like an all over-all visual health check which points to where I need to give attention. It is a wonderfully safe and effective tool.

After over 50 years of documented and internationally recognised safe and effective use, thermal imaging should be available on the NHS as it would not only save an astonishing amount of money but would also prevent an even greater amount of suffering. And guess what, relatively recent discussions with the government have been looking at doing just that. What a surprise then, that a corresponding opposition and attack on Thermal Medical Imaging suddenly reared it’s head. Given all the evidence, is it not time that we stopped allowing bullying to dictate our actions and did the right thing? Medical Thermal Imaging saves lives. Rosa, Phil and their wonderful team have shown tremendous courage and they deserve our support.

Susie-Jewell

Susie Jewell is a qualified General and Psychiatric Nurse