A BREAST cancer survivor will visit Garstang to talk about her experience with a screening technology which is helping in the battle against the disease.
Homeopathic practitioner Rosa Hughes, discovered Thermography six years ago when she found a lump in her breast.
She credited the technology with saving her life and following her treatment for the the disease she re-trained as a thermographer opening Medical Thermal Imaging North West with her husband Phil, based in Liverpool.
She now travels the country raising awareness and operating clinics on the alternative screening.
Next week she is inviting health concious women to a presentation at Vitality in Dimples Lane, to teach women more about Digital Infra-Red Thermal Imaging.
Rosa said: “I was feeling run down and then discovered quite a large lump which I didn’t know how I’d not noticed.
“I knew I didn’t want a mammogram because of the radiation risks associated with it and didn’t want to disturb something which might have been cancer.
“I come from a family of doctors so I started researching and trying to find something which could perhaps give me an idea of what might be going on with any potential tumour.”
Digital infra-red breast scans are believed to help young women, aged from 20, cut their risk of developing the disease with studies in America and the UK showing they vastly improve the chances of spotting a tumour in women under 50.
The technology –- a camera which detects heat – works by sensing temperature changes in the skin.
Any abnormal tissue, such as cancer, shows up as slightly warmer (red on the scan) than surrounding healthy cells.
Rosa was put in touch with doctors at Harley Street in London, who with the technology explained how they were able to detect the early signs of the disease.
With regular scans monitoring the activity of her own tumour she was able to track changes as she followed her treatment.
She said: “Since then I knew I wanted to train and teach others as there are so many who have no idea how fantastic this tool is and how it can help in stopping all the aggressive and sometimes uneccessary treatment.”
Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging (DITI), has been around for more than 30 years, but new developments and software have significantly improved its accuracy and Rosa said women are now ‘waking up to invasive treatments’ and looking to alternatives which can help prevent the disease from forming at very early stages.
“With thermography it gave me the chance to try various nutritional and other lifestyle changes. I felt as if I was back in control.
“It is giving younger women an early chance to look at preventative things and make those simple changes to lower the risks.”
Traditionally, younger women, who might deem themselves at risk of the disease are not offered early screening, Rosa explains:
“The breast tissue of younger women tends to be denser, which makes conventional mammogram scans less reliable.
“And younger women generally are not eligible for screening on the NHS.
“Thermography is a medically proven, non invasive, accurate method of breast screening and provides a full medical report within 48 hours. It also can detect active breast abnormality 8-10 years before mammography.”
Rosa said a lot of women approaching the clinic have been put off mammography because of concerns with levels of X-ray exposure and the heavy weight clamped on the breast during examinations.
Mammography is a test of anatomy and can detect a mass once it has reached a size when it is large enough and dense to block an x-ray. Scientists at the respected Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen, say mammography screening raises the risk of unnecessary treatment. For every one woman who benefits from a screen, ten will receive chemotherapy and even surgery for lumps that would never have harmed them.
These claims are still strongly rejected by other experts and mammography is still the preferred choice of the NHS but around 30% of women over 50 who are eligible for a regular scan on the NHS decide not to undergo one.
Rosa added the scans had also become popular with those who have had breast implants.
“Women have become more empowered. There is a quiet revolution going and we are trying to break the ground and give women the right information,” said Rosa.
The talk will be held at Vitality at 7.30pm on Monday March 19. Tickets for the presentation are £5, please book on 01995 600011 (Ticket prices are redeemable against the cost of a screening)