Follow to Marsha Henderson and Thermography

by Amy Porter on June 12, 2011

What better way to get additional material for a follow-up post than to talk with health and wellness colleagues?  Friday’s networking luncheon was filled with learned practitioners.  When I brought up Marsha Henderson’s June 2 letter, no one knew about it.  Then, they were angry.

To these practitioners who gave me new reasons, I dedicate the post and hope they’ll comment.  The following is information that you can include in your emails to Ms Henderson, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Assistant Commissioner for Women’s Health (Acting)

Reasons to send Ms Henderson @ the FDA so that she rescinds her letter:

  1. Thermography does not replace mammography.  They work in conjunction with each other.
  2. Thermography can recognize a heat source forming up to 3 years before a mammogram.
  3. Since a thermogram is rarely covered by insurance or federal grants, they are affordable.
  4. They provide peace of mind to those women who have a family history of cancer, because the thermograms detect heat sources earlier.

As I pointed out to my colleagues, I think Ms Henderson’s letter has less to do with the quality of a thermogram and more to do accessibility.

  1. Very few hospitals throughout the country have thermography machines.  Pueblo, Colorado is one of the few cities that I know with one in their hospital.
  2. Very few cities have health practices with thermography machines.  Colorado Springs is fortunate to have 2.
  3. Insurance rarely covers the procedure.  Truly, this is a good thing because it keeps the costs affordable.
  4. Women’s clinics rarely have access to them.

So when Ms Henderson says not to replace the annual mammograms with bi-annual, she is being a realist.  If a woman does not have access to a thermography machine, she probably won’t seek one out, let alone drive 2 or 3 hours.  Once she skips a year, she may not remember to get a mammogram for up to 5 years.

The issue then is to make thermography more available, not to discredit it.  I realize funding is always an issue at the FDA, especially since theirs come from the federal level.  It’s time for the Administration Assistant Commissioner for Women’s Health (Acting) to ask for help.

The alternative (complimentary and/or integrative) health community can fill this need.

  1. Let us to an analysis of how many thermography machines are available in each state.
  2. In the states that have more than 2, let’s put together an online marketing program for breast health.
  3. In the states with less than 2, let’s find practitioners who are willing to be trained.
  4. Then we need to partner with groups that provide women’s services and funding.  These are the groups that could underwrite the cost of the machines and the procedures.  There is an advantage of keeping the funding private as well as local.  No politics!

Please remember to email the FDA about the letter.  This is not about making someone right or wrong.  Ms Henderson is only being realistic.  If we can provide her with viable solutions on how to make thermography more accessible, my hope is that she will rescind her letter.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: