Thermography should not be used as a substitute for mammography. In thermography, special infrared cameras are used to detect and map heat that is produced in different parts of the body. Some cancers show up as "hot spots'' because new blood vessels are forming rapidly there.

However: The technique is unreliable. The rate of false-negatives (cancers that go undetected) and false-positives (non-malignant areas that show up as hot spots and require further testing) is unacceptably high.

Mammography remains the most useful breast-cancer screening test. The American Cancer Society recommends annual mammograms for women over age 40—and earlier or more frequently for women at increased risk.

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