Accuracy and Reliability of Infrared Thermography in Assessment of the Breasts of Women Affected by Cancer

  • Rinaldo Roberto de Jesus Guirro
  • Maíta Marade Oliveira Lima Leite Vaz
  • Lais Mara Siqueira das Neves
  • Almir Vieira Dibai-Filho
  • Hélio Humberto Angotti Carrara
  • Elaine Caldeira de Oliveira Guirro
Image & Signal Processing
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Image & Signal Processing


Evaluate reliability and accuracy of infrared thermography in the assessment of women wth breasts cancer. Thirty-five participants had unilateral breast cancer and 17 control subjects were assessed using infrared thermography. To evaluate reliability, two professionals, who were experienced, measured the temperature of the infrared images in two different moments, with a one-week interval. Biopsy was used as a gold standard exam with regard identify breast cancer. The analysis illustrated excellent reliability in terms of the affected, contralateral and control breasts with the intra-class correlation coefficient values ranging from 0.948 to 0.999. Standard measurement error ranged from 0.04 to 0.28 °C, and minimum detectable change deviated from 0.11 to 0.78 °C. Moreover, low to moderate accuracy were observed in terms of the establishment of the breast cancer diagnosis with values of the area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve ranging from 0.571 and 0.749. Breasts affected by cancer present higher skin temperature compared to contralateral and control. Furthermore, excellent reliability of the analysis of the infrared images and low-moderate accuracy in terms diagnosis were observed. Considering the results, infrared thermography can be applied as an instrument complement the assessment of breast cancer patients, but not for diagnostic purposes.


Skin temperature Breast cancer Diagnosis Sensitivity and specificity 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

“All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards”.


This study received funding of the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP, grants 2013/07227-0 and 2012/17907-6). The authors declare no conflicts of interest. Furthermore, this study has not been submitted to any other journal or conference.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rinaldo Roberto de Jesus Guirro
    • 1
  • Maíta Marade Oliveira Lima Leite Vaz
    • 1
  • Lais Mara Siqueira das Neves
    • 1
  • Almir Vieira Dibai-Filho
    • 1
  • Hélio Humberto Angotti Carrara
    • 2
  • Elaine Caldeira de Oliveira Guirro
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Postgraduate Program in Rehabilitation and Functional Performance, School of Medicine of Ribeirão PretoUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Postgraduate Program in Gynecology and Obstetrics, Ribeirão Preto Medical SchoolUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  3. 3.Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto, Prédio da Fisioterapia e Terapia OcupacionalUniversidade de São PauloRibeirão PretoBrazil

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