Breast Cancer Detection by Absolute Temperature Thermography and Computer Techniques

  • J. Haberman
  • J. Goin
  • T. Love
  • F. Ohnsorg
  • R. Aggarwal


Absolute temperature thermography (ATT) is the measurement and quantitative representation of thermal radiation emitted at the skin surface. Accurate thermal data are obtained by calibrating a precise radiometric infrared scanner against a set of constant-temperature sources and subsequent digitization. From absolute temperature data variables representing diagnostic features are developed. The variables are utilized in developing classification algorithms which will assign subjects into a normal or cancer class. The ATT approach described here is new and is the basis of a three-phase research program aimed at developing a safe and effective system for mass screening for breast cancer.

During the early months of data collection, when video digitizers providing on-line capability were not available, data collection was limited to recording four basic temperature measurements for each breast. A sample composed of 180 normal and 45 cancer subjects was used to train and test the initial classifier. This preliminary study confirmed that diagnostic information is contained in absolute temperature measurements. The pertinent features and results of this early effort are discussed.


Breast Cancer Allocation Rule Breast Cancer Detection Cancer Subject Cancer Class 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    R. Lawson, Implications of surface temperatures in the diagnosis of breast cancer, Canad. Med. Assoc. J. 75: 309–310 (1956).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    K. Lloyd-Williams, Infrared thermometry in the diagnosis of breast disease, Lancet 2: 1378 (1961).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    R. B. Barnes, Thermography of the human body, Amer. Assoc. Advancement of Sci. 140: 870 (1963).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    J. Gershon-Cohen, J. D. Haberman, Thermography, Radiology 82: 280–285 (1964).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    A. M. Lilienfeld, J. M. Barnes, R. B. Barnes, R. Brasfield, J. F. Connell, E. Diamond, J. Gershon-Cohen, J. Haberman, H. J. Isard, W. Z. Lane, R. Lattes, J. Miller, W. Seamon, R. Sherman, An evaluation of thermography in the detection of breast cancer, Cancer 24: 1206–1211 (1969).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    G. D. Dodd, J. D. Wallace, I. M. Freundlich, L. Marsh, A. Zermeno, Thermography and cancer of the breast, Cancer 23: 797–803 (1969).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    H. J. Isard, W. Becker, R. Shilo, B. J. Ostrum, Breast thermography after four years and 10,000 studies, Am. J. Roentgen. 115: 811–821 (1972).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    C. H. Jones, W. P. Greening, J. B. Davey, J. A. McKinna, V. J. Greeves, Thermography of the female breast: a five year study in relation to the detection and prognosis of cancer, Br. J. Radiol. 48: 532–538 (1974).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    O. Melander, Thermography as the primary step in mass screening for breast cancer, Thermography Proceedings, 1st European Congress, Amsterdam. Bibliol. Radiol. 6:91–96, Karger, Basel (1975).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    J. D. Haberman, T. J. Love, J. E. Francis, Pre-screening a rural population for breast cancer using thermography and physical examination techniques: methods and results–a preliminary report, Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 335: 492–500 (1980).ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    M. Gautherie, C. Gros, Breast thermography and cancer risk prediction, Cancer 45: 51–56 (1980).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    B. Threatt, J. M. Norbeck, N. S. Ullman, R. Kummer, P. F. Roselle, Thermography and breast cancer: an analysis of a blind reading, Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 335: 501–519 (1980).ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    T. J. Love, R. D. Linsted, Theoretical basis for use of skin temperature as a plethysmographic indicator. Contributions by the Bioengineering Division of ASME, Houston, Texas, December 4 (1975).Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    C. E. Metz, D. J. Goodenough, K. Rossmann, Evaluation of receiver operating characteristic curve data in terms of information theory, with applications in radiography, Radiology 109: 297–303 (1973).Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    C. E. Metz, Basic principles of ROC analysis, Seminars in Nuclear Medicine 8: 283–298 (1978).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    L. B. Lusted, General problems in medical decision making with comments on ROC analysis, Seminars in Nuclear Medicine 8: 299–306 (1978).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    J. A. Swets, ROC analysis applied to the evaluation of medical imaging techniques, Investigative Radiology 14: 109–121 (1979).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    J. Winter, M. A. Stein, Computer image processing techniques for automated breast thermogram interpretation, Computers and Biomedical Research 6: 522–529 (1973).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    M. C. Ziskin, M. Negin, C. Piner, M. S. Lapayowker, Computer diagnosis of breast thermograms, Radiology 115: 341–347 (1975).Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    P. Friedli, Erkennung das brustkarzinoma mittels computerthermographic dissertation. Eidgenossischen Technischen Hochschule, Zurich, Switzerland (1976).Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    M. Moskowitz, J. Milbrath, P. Gartside, A. Zermeno, D. Mandel, Lack of efficacy of thermography as a screening tool for minimal and stage I breast cancer, N. Engl. J. Med. 295: 249–252 (1976).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Haberman
    • 1
  • J. Goin
    • 2
  • T. Love
    • 3
  • F. Ohnsorg
    • 4
  • R. Aggarwal
    • 4
  1. 1.Health Sciences CenterUniversity of OklahomaOklahoma CityUSA
  2. 2.University of Kansas Medical CenterKansas CityUSA
  3. 3.University of OklahomaNormanUSA
  4. 4.Honeywell Systems and Research CenterHoneywell Inc.MinneapolisUSA

Personalised recommendations