Laura Cartledge finds a clinic in Worthing which is one step ahead.
I know ‘knowledge is power’, but that gave me little comfort as I sat in the waiting room at The Windsor Clinic, Worthing.
Like many people my health is not as far up the priority list as it should be.
In fact you could say it is at the bottom of the pile along with reminders from the opticians.
However, if I was going to be able to write about a pioneering scan there was only one way to do it.
“Are you sure?” asked my editor Alex, “But what if they find something?”
My answer was simple, and surprised myself more than anyone – “I would rather know.”
To be honest I had not thought that far ahead, it seems silly but being a bit of a prude meant I was more worried about having to take my clothes off.
Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging, as the name suggests, works by using an infrared camera to detect differences in temperature in the body – each colour showing a variation of half a degree.
Areas of concern are the ones which show up as hot, or abnormally cold, indicating possible injury, infection or even tumours.
“It acts as a springboard,” explains Dr Jeffrey McTavish, founder of the clinic, “the images get sent to doctors in Florida, who compile a report based on their findings, telling you to go and get these tests.”
While the importance of early detection is well known, it may seem strange that Jeffrey, a trained chiropractor, has opted to add the scan to the services he offers.
“I got involved in this because I lost my best friend to cancer,” he says. “I was the third person in the country to offer this technology.”
Arguably lesser known than mammograms and ultrasound, the Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging, or DITI, is already being recognised as having strengths where the other techniques have weaknesses.
This includes being able to detect inflammatory breast cancer, an aggressive and rapid strain, which often has no lump that can be felt during a physical exam or seen in a screening mammogram.
“It can also tell you if you are pregnant before a urine test can,” adds Jeffery, “as it detects changes in the breasts.”
Plus the benefits of scanning tissue means it offers assistance with everything from sports injuries – the likes of West Ham Football Club are reported to use the technology – to dental disease and deep vein thrombosis.
With the science explained and understood it is time to take my “thermal signature”.
This involves taking a sequence of images with the infrared camera including face, back, front and side.
It’s painless and quick but the resulting pictures, unsurprisingly, are far from flattering.
However they are fascinating. The shoulder I carry my handbag on is hotter than the other and the lower back pain I get after a day at the computer glows for all to see.
While the first session will be combined with a scan in three months time, to determine my baseline, the report I get back the next day makes for interesting reading.
Not only does it highlight things I am aware of but have been ignoring, like the lower back pain, it suggests things to keep an eye on that I doubt I would have otherwise seen.
The value of this is hard to know at this stage however something I find priceless is seeing my body, and as a result my health, in a new light.
To find out more about The Windsor Clinic, 171 Brighton Road, Worthing, visit www.thewindsorclinic.co.uk or call 01903 234490. Prices for the DITI scans range from £60 to £310.
A half body scan costs £230 for men and £245 for women, both prices include follow up scans.
October 9, 2013 Travel and Lifestyle