Breast cancer screening made easy at BRAS

| June 1, 2011
Chip Gilmour owns the Louisville office of BRAS.

Chip Gilmour owns the Louisville office of BRAS.

What does a woman dreading breast cancer have in common with a man who suffers a stress fracture during a football scrimmage?

Both may benefit from a clinical imaging procedure called thermography, according to Chip Gilmour, owner of the Louisville office of BRAS (Breast Research Awareness and Support), which opened in March at 4010 Dupont Circle, Suite 517.

Thermography, also known as digital infrared thermal imaging, shows physiological changes and metabolic processes that may indicate many kinds of diseases and injuries.

“Our equipment simply reads the body’s heat signatures. It doesn’t send out radiation, and there is no compression of tissue, as during a mammogram. Thermography provides an opportunity to detect breast problems much earlier than a mammogram,” he said. “And for people who have arthritis, joint injuries, back pain or other painful conditions, this procedure can show where treatment should be applied.”

Gilmour began looking into thermography several years ago while struggling with headaches and fatigue.

“I had started a journey into health and wellness by changing my diet and things like that,” he said. “I learned about thermography and found that there are franchise opportunities for people like me who are passionate about health. When my wife, Heather, and I saw those two ideas coming together, we decided this was the time to get involved.”

BRAS was founded by Linda Bamber, a naturopathic doctor in Kansas whose mother and sister were diagnosed with breast cancer within two months of each other. After researching thermography for two decades, she founded the company, which now has 21 franchises in Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma and North Carolina.

Bras“When thermography started being used during the 1980s, the technology wasn’t very accurate,” Chip said. “But over the past 25 years, infrared imaging has benefitted from improvements made by the military. We now measure changes in heat to hundredths of a degree.”

BRAS doesn’t advocate choosing thermography instead of mammography; when both are used, the company claims, 95 percent of breast cancers may be detected. Chip believes that women under 50 can find thermography especially beneficial, although it is effective for all age groups.

“Studies have documented how much less effective mammograms are for younger women because their breast tissue is denser. It’s like looking for a polar bear in a snowstorm,” he said. “Mammography looks for a structure, but thermography looks for heat. Cancer has a different heat signature than surrounding tissue, and it causes inflammation and blood vessel formation.”

The office has two female thermographers who perform the procedure on women; Gilmour is on hand to assist men. The first breast thermogram costs $195, and a second one ($150) is recommended for three months later, for comparison. Results are usually available in 24 hours, after interpretation by certified doctors.

“There is so much fear associated with breast cancer. A doctor might say to a woman, ‘There is something suspicious – come back to me in six months,’ ” he said. “Instead of waiting and worrying, she can come here for a thermogram, and it might indicate a cyst rather than a tumor. From that standpoint, this procedure may offer a lot more peace of mind for many women.”

BRAS is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For information, visit www.breastresearchawareness.com or call 502.895.1224.

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