Thermography business targets early cancer detectionAugust 28, 2018
By ALLEN LAMAN
JASPER — A new local business aims to find the root of your bodily pain and facilitate the possible early detection of cancer and other diseases — all by looking at a picture of your body.
Well, it’s a little more complex than that.
Total Body Thermography & Wellness, a business that opened Monday at 142 West Third St. in Jasper, is a mother-daughter-run operation fueled by a passion for early cancer detection and other disease detection. Owned by Sandy Horton and Brittany Tarrh, the two plan to utilize thermal imaging technology to help patients pinpoint signs of cancer and other ailments early. Horton is a lifelong Dubois County resident who resides in Huntingburg, and Tarrh lives in New Albany.
“At Total Body Thermography & Wellness, we focus on prevention and early detection to be proactive in our breast health instead of being reactive,” Tarrh and Horton wrote in a supplied information sheet. “We work with a team of medical doctors that have been specially trained in this field who read the images and write a report for the client. Thermography can also detect pain and inflammation, as well as injury, sinus and dental issues, thyroid, sciatica, DVT (deep vein thrombosis) and so much more!”
Thermography screenings use an infrared camera to create a digital map of your body’s heat patterns. Tarrh and Horton explained that those images may detect and point to inflammation connected to a condition or abnormality. Body temperature is normally symmetrical, so thermal asymmetries can indicate a problem.
The two said it is invaluable to detect breast abnormalities as many as 10 years ahead of a mammogram, which is something thermography can do. Thermograms don’t replace mammograms, however, because they are different screening tools. Mammography looks at structure and makes use of compression and radiation to see structure, while thermography looks at physiology and does not use compression or radiation.
At Total Body Thermography & Wellness, patients arrive at the office, enter an exam room and change into a gown and enter a “cool down” period, where they are asked to sit in a way that does not create heat patterns on their bodies, such as crossing their legs. A high-tech camera is then activated and used to capture various heat images of their bodies in a non-invasive, no-touch and no-radiation screening. A report is then submitted to a team of radiologists and doctors for processing — no diagnosis is made on-site. The processed report from that team of radiologists and doctors is usually emailed to or mailed to patients within 72 hours of their visit. These medical professionals work through a third-party company called EMI.
Visits end with an educational session that focuses on preventative measures including simple lifestyle and diet changes and exercises that can make a difference in preventing cancer.
According to the United Breast Cancer Foundation, thermography provides the earliest form of cancer detection possible. Information on the organization’s website says an abnormal infrared image is the single most important marker of high risk for developing breast cancer, and that when thermograms are added to regular breast health checkups, a 61 percent increased survival rate has been realized.
“The addition of breast thermography to the frontline of early breast cancer detection brings a great deal of good news for women,” the foundation’s website says.
Horton said she has a history of breast and female cancers in her family, so that’s why she wanted to open the shop. Tarrh has been on her own medical journey since being diagnosed with interstitial cystitis — a chronic bladder condition — and said she sees working at the office as a way of giving back. Tarrh has worked in health care for more than 10 years as a pharmacy technician in health information management.
. Horton has spent the majority of her career in business environments. Tarrh’s husband, Derek, will also assist at the office as a male thermographer and with business development. All three are clinically-certified thermographers.
The nearest thermography facilities are in places like Louisville and Indianapolis, so Horton and Tarrh hope to turn their practice into a regional force. The local office is currently open by appointment only Monday through Friday and every other Saturday. The co-owners also plan to make field trips to area towns that wouldn’t normally have access to thermography.
The breast health assessment costs $195, a half-body assessment is $295, and a total body assessment is $395.
According to the provided information sheet, there are insurance companies that cover thermography and those that do not. If a company has a wellness program or is self-insured, thermography is usually covered. Health savings accounts and cafeteria plans also can be used to cover costs.
More information can be found on the Total Body Thermography & Wellness Facebook page as well as the organization’s website, totalbodythermography.com.
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