Bal Gill was just out on a trip to the Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, in Edinburgh. However, the trip changed her life with just an image.
Early detection in most diseases is key to beating it before it takes over your life. Many at times, the lack of early signs and diagnosis can also lead to death. One woman was lucky enough to find her tumor before it had time to fester. However, it was not the physical symptoms that led to the detection of the breast cancer, but a visit to a popular tourist destination.
According to CNN, Bal Gill was at a Camera Obscura and World of Illusions, in Edinburgh, taking in the sights with her husband and two kids. But little did she realize then that the cameras would show more than just their happy faces.
In a letter addressed to the general manager of the attraction, Andrew Johnson, Gill wrote, “While making our way through the floors we got to the thermal imaging camera room. As all families do, we entered and started to wave our arms and look at the images created. While doing this, I noticed a heat patch (red in colour) coming from my left breast."
"We thought it was odd and having looked at everyone else they didn’t have the same. I took a picture and we carried on and enjoyed the rest of the museum,” she wrote.
Gill found it strange that she was the only one with such a patch, so the doubtful woman did a google search on what it meant. "A few days later when we returned home I was flicking through my pictures and I saw the image. At this point, I searched on Google to see what this could mean and I saw a lot of articles about breast cancer and thermal imaging cameras," said the woman.
Waiting no more, the mother of two made an appointment with an oncologist. On meeting with the doctor, she was surprised to be diagnosed with an early stage of breast cancer. Gill, who is from Berkshire, England has undergone two operations and is now waiting for a third surgery that will prevent the spreading of cancer.
Though the news of the illness is heartbreaking, she is happy it was detected early. Expressing her gratitude, she wrote a letter to the Camera Obscura & World of Illusions. She told them how the visit changed her life.
She said, "I just wanted to say thank you – without that camera I would never have known. I know it’s not the intention of the camera but for me, it really was a life-changing visit. I cannot tell you enough about how my visit to the Camera Obscura changed my life.”
However, medical experts said that the thermal imagining cameras were never a proven screening tool. "Thermography devices are not sensitive or specific enough to be a trusted method to detect breast cancer -- in Ms. Gill's case the discovery was serendipitous," said vice president for clinical radiology at The Royal College of Radiologists, Caroline Rubin. Experts, on the other hand, recommend the use of mammograms to detect the illness. They say that is good to do the test from around the age of 40 to 50 onwards.
In May of this year, Bal visited us at Camera Obscura on a family trip to Edinburgh. Little did she know that her simple visit and a photograph would not only change her life but in fact, save her life. Read more about Bal's incredible story here: https://t.co/vffxFAKCyJ pic.twitter.com/V0GXsryKEP— Camera Obscura (@camobscura) October 22, 2019
In response to Gill's letter, Johnson said, "We did not realize that our thermal camera had the potential to detect life-changing symptoms in this way. We were really moved when Bal contacted us to share her story as breast cancer is very close to home for me and a number of our team. It’s amazing that Bal noticed the difference in the image and, crucially, acted on it promptly.”