Quebec's College of Physicians is launching an investigation into an increasingly popular test that some claim can detect signs of breast cancer before it begins.

Dr. Charles Bernard, the college's general director, said the medical community is worried about thermography's legitimacy.

"The thermography question is under investigation because what we are worried about is that it's an illegal practice of medicine," he said.

Yesterday, a CBC investigation pointed out that thermography – the use of thermal-imaging to screen for breast cancer – was gaining popularity with naturopaths and other medical groups.

Others say the procedure is "useless" and is susceptible to false-positives — driving many women to mammography clinics and clogging the system for people who need checkups.

In Montreal, the Westmount Wellness Centre offers the services for the price of $250.

The health clinic claims women who add thermography to their regular breast-health checkups see a 61 per cent increase in survival rates.

Bernard said the college is working with provincial authorities to stop any unauthorized medical devices from entering the province.

Health Canada has also decided to stall orders of equipment at the border.

Health ministers in Newfoundland and Labrador also took action by ordering clinics to stop performing the tests.

Last year, the United States' Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered two U.S. clinics and a company that sells the equipment to stop making misleading claims about detecting cancer.