Breast Thermogram Hormonal Grade

Determining the Effects of Estrogen on Your Level of Risk:  The Hormonal Grade:

Lifetime exposure to estrogen has been identified as a significant risk factor from the development of cancer.  The Hormonal Grade is a way to look at the effects of estrogen on the breasts.  When we measure the level of estrogen and progesterone in the blood, urine or saliva we are looking at the hormonal balance in the whole body.  The question remains, what is the effect of these hormone levels on the breasts.  Normal fatty tissue in the breasts can actually produce estrogen and will be missed on blood testing and can contribute to risk.  Some women have estrogen receptors that are more sensitive or bind estrogen more easily.  They may even have low estrogen levels but their breasts are actually being over stimulated by the estrogen they have.  By looking at the hormonal grade, we can put all of these factors into perspective.

It is important to recognize some additional factors that can affect hormonal grad that may or may not be the result of estrogen stimulation.  Low-grade whole breast inflammation from poor lymph flow can produce mottled thermal patterns that can simulate the appearance of estrogen stimulation in the breasts.  Altered thyroid function can create mottling and can directly alter the estrogen progesterone balance.  In addition, chronic: pain, stress, hormonal imbalance, allergy, illness, (low-grade) infection, exposure to foods/chemicals for which one is sensitive can also affect nervous and/or immune/lymphatic system function creating mottling.  When the hormonal grad is at a 3or 4, all of these factors should be considered.

Grade 0:

There are no symmetrical blood vessel patterns visualized in the breasts which means the breasts do not appear to be stimulated by estrogen at all.  Your breasts appear to be handling the estrogen in your body very well and there is really nothing to be done to restore hormonal balance in the breasts.  If you are taking hormone replacement, this rating is great news since it suggests that the estrogen is probably not contributing to any risk you may have for developing cancer.  This rating is most common in post-menopausal women and is considered to be the healthiest.

Grade 1:

Symmetrical blood vessel patterns are visualized in the chest wall and upper most breast surface only.  This suggests a small amount of estrogen activity but like Grade 0, suggests that the estrogen in your body is not contributing to any risk you may have for developing cancer.  This rating is also common in post-menopausal women and is considered to be healthy.

How you should follow up for a Hormonal Grade of 0 or 1:

No follow up or management is necessary.  You are doing just fine!

Grade 2:

Symmetrical blood vessel patterns now visualized extending to the upper-inner and/or upper-outer quadrants of the breasts.  This suggests a slightly higher activity than Grade 1 suggests and the estrogen in you body is probably not contributing to any risk you might have for developing cancer or that the contribution is small.  This grade is commonly seen in premenopausal women and is considered to be healthy.

How you should follow up for Hormonal Grade 2:

This grade does not necessarily require any follow-up or management and may be normal especially for premenopausal women.  For post-menopausal women who are not on hormones, they may wish to work with a holistic practitioner to try to lower the estrogen stimulation to the breasts especially if their TH rating is suggesting any elevation in risk.

Grade 3:

The blood vessel patterns are visualized extending to the level of the nipple line as they do during pregnancy under the effects of estrogen.  This suggests moderate estrogen activity and may suggest that estrogen stimulation of the breasts may be contributing to risk for developing cancer in women with TH3 ratings or higher.

Women who are pregnant and lactating will generally have a Hormonal Grade of 3 or 4 due to natural hormonal changes.  Also, women on birth control pills and hormone replacement will also commonly exhibit this Hormonal Grade a a function of the hormones they are taking.  This grade simply says the level of stimulation is elevated.  The TH rating will let you know the level of risk for developing cancer.  Other possible causes for this rating included large breast size, poor estrogen-progesterone balance and poor estrogen metabolism.

Grade 4:

They symmetrical blood vessel patterns now are visualized extending below the nipple line.  The significance is the same as Grade 3.  The level of stimulation is just greater.

How you should follow up for a Hormonal Grade 3 or 4:

The first thing to do with a Hormonal Grade 3 or 4 is to check the TH rating to see the level of risk.  We will show you how to put together the two rating system in the section below.  The next step is to investigate what might be causing the elevation.

If you are pregnant or lactating there is nothing to do.  This is completely normal for you and should not generate any concern.  If you are taking hormones or birth control pills, this is likely the cause and reducing the activity may not be possible as long as you continue on these medications.  Use the TH rating to determine if there is a n elevated level of risk for the breasts.  If there is a TH rating of 3 or higher, addressing the estrogen may be a way to lower your risk.  If discontinuing treatment is not an option or not desired, watch the TH ratings to see if any increase in risk can be detected and use that with your health care provider to determine if changes to your hormone intake are warranted.

If there are no obvious sources of estrogen that could explain the grade it is time to look at environmental and dietary estrogen, estrogen-progesterone balance and estrogen metabolism along with the additional factors mentioned above.  Tips on how to do this may be available from the thermal imaging center or a consultation with a holistic health care provider can be considered.

Understanding the significance TH rating in combination with Hormonal Grade:

The easiest way to think about this is to remember that the TH rating looks at the effect of all risk factors on the breast tissue while the Hormonal Grade looks at only the effects of estrogen.  In other words, you can have a high Hormonal Grade suggesting lots of estrogen stimulation but a low TH rating.  This means that although the estrogen stimulation is high, it is not causing a measurable increase in your level of risk.  It is also possible to have  a high TH rating and a low Hormonal Grade.  This means that the level of risk for the high rated breast is elevated but the estrogen does appear to be a contributing factor.

Understanding Your Thermal Breast Imaging Report