Before it can be determined that any changes are taking place in the breasts, an accurate and stable baseline must be established. In other words, we need to know what is normal for you. The thermal patterns in the breast are unique for every individual. This pattern, referred to as a “thermal fingerprint,” is remarkably stable, and under normal circumstances will only be altered by developing pathology. A baseline cannot be established with only one study, as there is no way of knowing if this is a woman’s normal pattern or if changes are actually occurring at the time of the initial study. By comparing two studies three months apart it can be determined that a woman’s breast physiology is stable and therefore suitable to be used as a normal baseline for subsequent annual comparative studies. There is no substitute for establishing an accurate baseline.
Apart from the difficulties of protocols for imaging children the main reason is that there will always be major changes and physiological activity related to developmental and growth changes in both males and females up to the ages of 18 to 20 which have to be taken into consideration. Screening and monitoring is not valid below these ages and no baselines can be established. If there are any clinically based conditions or concerns in children then it is necessary to have a referral from a healthcare practitioner with specific requests for imaging relating to a specific expectation. Children complaining of stomach aches need to be taken to family doctor for clinical evaluation before possible referral to a specialist if necessary, thermography would not be standard of care in this situation. An example of an age-related condition would be a suspicion of Osgood-Schlatter disease based on symptoms.