An Englishwoman left a tourist attraction in Scotland with a rather unusual souvenir: a thermal image of her body showing a suspiciously colored patch in the breast area.
Bal Gill, 41, of Berkshire, England, stopped by Camera Obscura & World of Illusions in Edinburgh, Scotland, during a family vacation in May. When she reached the thermal imaging camera, one of the popular features of the tourist attraction, she and her family came in and started waving their hands and viewing their images, according to a statement from Gill posted on Camera Obscura's website.  Jill quickly noticed the coloration showing warmth in her left breast and snapped a picture of her thermal image.
"We thought it was weird and when we looked at everyone else, they didn't have the same thing," Gill said in a statement.
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When Jill was flipping through her vacation photos after returning home, she came across the photo again. After some online thermal imaging research, Gill set up a medical appointment where she was eventually diagnosed with breast cancer.
"I just wanted to say thank you: Without this camera I would never have understood," Gill says in her statement. "I know this is not the intent of the camera, but for me it was really a life-changing visit. I cannot tell you enough about how my visit to the Obscura camera changed my life."
Gill said that the disease was in a "really early stage" and that he had performed two surgeries, with another appearing to prevent the spread of cancer.
Jill's case is lucky and remarkable, but women should not give up mammograms for thermal imaging, says Dr. Rachel Brem, Professor of Radiology and Director of Breast Imaging and Intervention at George Washington University Medical Center
"We have a technology that is tried and true in saving women from breast cancer, and thermography is not that technology , "Bram told NBC News." Mammography is the only imaging modality that demonstrates an unambiguous and remarkable reduction in breast cancer mortality. "
While mammography uses low-energy X-rays to detect breast cancer, thermography uses only heat and l would make its results far less reliable.
" We must practice medicine based on research and data, and there will be no thermography data, "said Brem." You have to keep perspective. This is one [case]. How Many Cancer Misses Infrared? The answer is, we don't know. "
The US Food and Drug Administration also warned that thermal imaging should not be used as a mammogram substitute for breast cancer screening and diagnosis.
" There is no valid scientific data. to prove that thermography devices, when used alone or with other diagnostic tests, are an effective screening tool for any medical condition, including early detection of breast cancer or other medical conditions and conditions, " The latest warning issued by the agency in February.
"People who choose thermography instead of mammograms may miss the chance to find cancer at its earliest and treatable stage," according to the FDA website.
The warning states that mammography is "the most effective breast cancer screening method and the only proven method that increases the chance of survival through an earlier detector.