A CROSBY firm has been banned from making ‘misleading’ claims over its breast cancer screening technology.
Medical Thermal Imaging – trading as Breast Angels and based at the Homeopathic Clinic on College Road – claimed its thermal imaging service could detect early signs of cancer before a traditional mammogram, and was medically proven to be effective.
The claims were made in an advert placed in an alternative health magazine, prompting a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
Yesterday, the complaint was upheld, with the ASA ruling the firm was unable to supply ‘robust clinical evidence’ to support its claims. It ordered the advert must not be run again, but Phillip Hughes claimed the decision was ‘ridiculous’ and not medically sound. Mr Hughes, who travels with wife Rosa to carry out scans at seven clinics across the UK, including the company’s base on College Road, said from previous experience he did not believe the ASA decision-making process was fair.
He said: “Last year they asked us the same question and we sent them over 20 medical papers with literally hundreds of references to show that what we were saying was right.
“They still ruled against us, saying the evidence was not robust enough.I wondered how they could question experts in their field who say thermal imaging can detect abnormalities earlier than is possible with the mammogram.
“I questioned the scientific expertise and qualifications of the people making the decision, but the ASA simply told me they were experts in advertising. It is ridiculous that nobody with medical knowledge and qualifications is involved in the decision.
“There are over 800 peer-reviewed papers about thermography and breast cancer. Because thermography is not limited to people over 50, unlike the mammogram screening programme, it can detect cell change which could mean catching abnormalities years earlier.”
But Sarah Williams, Cancer Research UK’s health information officer, said: “Thermography is a relatively new technique and there is not enough evidence to know whether it can reliably detect breast cancer.”