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Natural Awakenings Richmond

Practitioner Spotlight: Debbie Troxell, RN, MSNH

Sep 03, 2015 02:36PM ● By Clair Norman

Debbie Troxell

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately one in eight women born in the U.S. will get breast cancer. The good news is that many can survive if it is found and treated early, and breast thermography can help. Debbie Troxell, a registered nurse and thermographer at Lifestyle Designs, answers some questions about thermography.

What is breast thermography and why are you passionate about this option?

Thermography is a safe, non-invasive, radiation-free screening that uses an infrared digital camera to detect thermal or temperature changes on the skin. It can show ‘hot’ or inflamed areas and patterns which can be suspicious and warrant further investigation. It has many applications besides breast health, such as thyroid and cardiac issues and inflamed or injured tissue. I am passionate about this screening because it empowers women to be proactive.

What training is required to become a thermographer?

There is an intense, thorough training protocol to learn the imaging process, and only a physician who has been specifically trained in thermography is qualified to interpret the images. Matthew Lee, M.D., RPh, MS, of eLEEte Physicians, has completed this training and interprets the images.

How does this option compare with more conventional breast health diagnostic tools like mammograms?

Thermography and mammography have two different goals. With thermography, the goal is overall breast health. Mammography is a diagnostic tool for cancer. They can complement each other, and thermography has been registered with the FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] since 1982 as an adjunct early breast cancer screening tool. As a health discovery tool not only for the breasts, but for the entire body, thermography is safe, pain-free and radiation-free. Dr. Lee recommends thermography for younger women as a safe and reliable way to begin monitoring breast health at an earlier age.

What can patients expect?

Patients can expect a pleasant, friendly and professional experience. First, I send patient preparation information ahead of time that includes a questionnaire. After the imaging is complete, I upload them to Dr. Lee to interpret. Then I meet with the patient to review their study and provide additional information. Typically, health savings accounts cover the service. However, patients should check with insurance carriers to determine coverage. Lifestyle Designs has a special during October for breast health awareness and always offers a senior discount of 10 percent for those 65 and over.

Do you have personal experience with thermography?

I first had breast thermography done several years ago and was very impressed with the process and the safety factor. I have been able to reduce an area of inflammation using complementary approaches that fit in perfectly with my focus on a holistic approach to health and wellness.

Lifestyle Designs, LLC, is located in the Wellness Village, at 1404 Starling Dr. For more information, call 804-683-7774 or visit

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