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Focuses on the discussion of using thermal infrared imaging (TIR) in early detection of breast cancer. We use the term thermal texture maps to represent the images captured from TIR imaging. Even though the heat emanating onto the surface from the cancerous tissue can be successfully modeled using the Pennes bio-heat equation, the complexity of the boundary conditions associated with the biological body makes it impractical to solve the inverse problem. This paper presents a new method for analyzing a thermal system based on an analogy to electrical circuit theory; referred to as thermal-electric analog. We demonstrate how the analog can be used to estimate the depth of the heat source, and furthermore, help understand the metabolic activities undergoing within the human body. The method has been used in early breast cancer detection and has achieved high sensitivity. Several breast cancer study cases are given to show the effectiveness of the method. On-going clinical study results are provided as well.
Date of Conference: 2002