So what causes this pain and tenderness in the breast? It's a response of the breast tissue to the natural hormones produced by the ovaries. The lumps felt are either fluid filled sacs (cysts) or swelling of the milk producing glands. Although these changes are benign and not dangerous, they can cause routine breast exams and mammograms to be very painful.
Fibrocystic breasts make it more difficult to palpate and identify a new lump among the existing ones and can also make it more difficult for doctors to identify breast cancer with a mammogram. Since some of the cysts can look or feel like cancerous lumps, a biopsy is usually performed to rule out cancer.
According to the Breast Cancer Coalition, "as early as 1928, physicians were warned to 'handle cancerous breasts with care – for fear of accidentally disseminating cells' and spreading cancer."
Today, all of the probing, squishing, x-rays, and routine biopsies may result in more trauma and increase the risk of developing and/or spreading cancerous cells.
Thermography is ideal for breast screening in women with fibrocystic breasts. It is radiation free and compression free. It can detect changes in the breast tissue as many as 8 years before a tumor can be seen on mammogram.
Dr. Christiane Northrup, a leading surgeon and medical consultant in the area of breast cancer suggests, "instead of just screening for breast cancer, a thermogram can tell you how healthy your breasts are." Using thermography as part of an annual breast health screening can help make prevention of breast cancer a reality.