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N Z Med J. 2012 Mar 9;125(1351):80-91.

Thermography as a screening and diagnostic tool: a systematic review.

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New Zealand Guidelines Group, Wellington, New Zealand.



To determine the effectiveness of digital infrared thermography for the detection of breast cancer in a screening population, and as a diagnostic tool in women with suspected breast cancer.


A comprehensive search of electronic databases together with a search of international websites was conducted. Diagnostic studies comparing thermography with mammography for screening in asymptomatic populations; or comparing thermography with histology in women with suspected breast cancer; were eligible for inclusion. Quality of included studies was appraised using the QUADAS criteria.


One study reported results for thermography in screening population and five studies reported diagnostic accuracy of thermography in women with suspected breast cancer. Overall, studies were of average quality. Sensitivity for thermography as a screening tool was 25% (specificity 74%) compared to mammography. Sensitivity for thermography as a diagnostic tool ranged from 25% (specificity 85%) to 97% (specificity 12%) compared to histology.


Currently there is not sufficient evidence to support the use of thermography in breast cancer screening, nor is there sufficient evidence to show that thermography provides benefit to patients as an adjunctive tool to mammography or to suspicious clinical findings in diagnosing breast cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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