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Fla. Thermography Clinics Ignore FDA Warning

June 13, 2011
Written by: , Filed in: Breast Imaging, Medical Ethics, Practice Management
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On June 2, the Food and Drug Administration, in a strongly worded statement, said, “Thermography is not a replacement for screening mammography and should not be used by itself to diagnose breast cancer.”

Thermography proponents, predictably, are not giving up the fight. Health News Florida reports that Florida clinics continue to promote thermography as a screening tool for cancer (and lots and lots of other maladies) and plan to continue to do so.

Thermography First, LLC, offers thermography imaging at clinics in South Florida. Its current Web site says of thermography that “as a routine screening tool, it has been shown to be 97% effective at detecting benign vs. malignant breast abnormalities.”

The Web site quotes “Dr. John W. Gofman, an authority on the health effects of ionizing radiation,” as saying, “I do not recommend mammograms to my patients.” One reason, he says, is:

Few radiologists are able to read mammograms correctly, therefore limiting the procedure’s effectiveness. Even the man who developed this technique stated on national television that only about six radiologists in the United States could read them correctly.

The Web site also includes a page of claims attributed to a “Dr. Mercola,” including that thermography can “visualize” pain and provide early detection of gum disease, immune dysfunction, lupus, carpal tunnel syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, and whiplash.

A March 22 FDA warning letter told Joseph Mercola, DO, of Hoffman Estates, Illinois, near Chicago, to stop making unsubstantiated claims about thermography. Dr. Mercola advocates “natural health products” through his Web site and such books as The Great Bird Flu Hoax. The FDA warning letter was the third he’s received over the years.

“The FDA is not aware of any valid scientific data,” says the FDA statement, “to show that thermographic devices, when used on their own, are an effective screening tool for any medical condition including the early detection of breast cancer or other breast disease.”

“The existing medical establishment is responsible for killing and permanently injuring millions of Americans,” says Dr. Mercola, “but the surging numbers of visitors to Mercola.com since I began the site in 1997—we are now routinely among the top 10 health sites on the Internet—convinces me that you, too, are fed up with their deception. You want practical health solutions without the hype, and that’s what I offer.”

“Valid scientific data” vs. a guy who claims “without the hype” that the medical establishment kills and injures millions, that vaccines are dangerous, that cholesterol does not cause heart disease, and that vitamin D “cures” asthma. While accusing various members of the medical establishment, including the American Cancer Society, of conflicts of interest, this guy also uses his Web site to sell a long list of products, including supplements, lotions, ovens, chef’s knives, and light bulbs.

Why do so many people sneer at the scientists and believe the huckster?

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