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Breast cancer is the main cause of death among young women in developing countries. The human body temperature carries critical medical information related to the overall body status. Abnormal rise in total and regional body temperature is a natural symptom in diagnosing many diseases. Thermal imaging (Thermography) utilizes infrared beams which are fast, non-invasive, and non-contact and the output created images by this technique are flexible and useful to monitor the temperature of the human body. In some clinical studies and biopsy tests, it is necessary for the clinician to know the extent of the cancerous area. In such cases, the thermal image is very useful. In the same line, to detect the cancerous tissue core, thermal imaging is beneficial. This paper presents a fully automated approach to detect the thermal edge and core of the cancerous area in thermography images. In order to evaluate the proposed method, 60 patients with an average age of 44/9 were chosen. These cases were suspected of breast tissue disease. These patients referred to Tehran Imam Khomeini Imaging Center. Clinical examinations such as ultrasound, biopsy, questionnaire, and eventually thermography were done precisely on these individuals. Finally, the proposed model is applied for segmenting the proved abnormal area in thermal images. The proposed model is based on a fuzzy active contour designed by fuzzy logic. The presented method can segment cancerous tissue areas from its borders in thermal images of the breast area. In order to evaluate the proposed algorithm, Hausdorff and mean distance between manual and automatic method were used. Estimation of distance was conducted to accurately separate the thermal core and edge. Hausdorff distance between the proposed and the manual method for thermal core and edge was 0.4719 ± 0.4389, 0.3171 ± 0.1056 mm respectively, and the average distance between the proposed and the manual method for core and thermal edge was 0.0845 ± 0.0619, 0.0710 ± 0.0381 mm respectively. Furthermore, the sensitivity in recognizing the thermal pattern in breast tissue masses is 85 % and its accuracy is 91.98 %.A thermal imaging system has been proposed that is able to recognize abnormal breast tissue masses. This system utilizes fuzzy active contours to extract the abnormal regions automatically.
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