A controversial diagnostic test for breast cancer is being offered in Calgary.
A CBC News investigation has identified dozens of clinics across Canada offering thermography for breast examinations.
But medical authorities worldwide say there is no proof that thermography actually works as a diagnostic tool for cancer. Alternatively, the tests may be giving others a false sense of security about their health.
Kerissa Nielsen, who practises homeopathic medicine in Calgary, recommends the $250 thermography test, in addition to ultrasounds or mammograms.
"Polyps, cysts and fibres can go into a cancer later on right? So if there's that increase in heat, well what exactly is going on? So then again, we send them back to their doctor and they decide with their doctor."
But medical authorities say false positives from thermography tests are gumming up the system, resulting in patients worrying about the results of tests that have no value.
"It's not effective at detecting breast cancers," said Gillian Bromfield, senior manager of cancer control policy at the Canadian Cancer Society. "It misses the large majority of breast cancers and, on top of that, it also detects cancers when there actually are none."
Peace of mind, says patient
Calgarian Joan Wery, who is considered high risk for breast cancer, gets thermography done every six months instead of a mammogram.
"That's part of my peace of mind," she said.
"I do have much more confidence trusting the heat cameras than I do in radiating the tissues and squashing the tissues."
Thermography uses a heat-sensitive infrared camera to take images of the body.
Nielson said it's not designed to detect breast cancer.
"Again, it's risk assessment and how healthy or unhealthy the breast tissue is, if there's more inflammation."
Her patient load has increased by 75 per cent since she started offering thermography.