Woman's life-changing tourist visit as thermal camera picks up cancer

22 October 2019, 15:37 | Updated: 22 October 2019, 23:11

A woman discovered she had breast cancer after a thermal imaging camera in a tourist attraction picked up an unusual patch of heat.

Bal Gill was visiting the Camera Obscura and World of Illusions on Edinburgh's Royal Mile in May when she saw the red heat radiating from her breast on a thermal image.

Mrs Gill thought the heat was odd, and so searched online, to find thermal imaging cameras are sometimes used to help oncologists diagnose cancers.

She made an appointment with her doctor, where she was diagnosed with breast cancer in the "really early stages".

Mrs Gill, 41, from Slough, is now waiting for a third operation to try to stop the disease from spreading.

She has written to the team at the Camera Obscura to thank them - saying it was a visit that changed her life.

She said: "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 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 added: "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.

"I made an appointment with the doctor and as it turns out I do have breast cancer, thankfully really early stages.

"I have now had two surgeries and have one to go to prevent it from spreading.

"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."

General manager Andrew Johnson said: "We did not realise 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.

"We wish her all the best with her recovery and hope to meet her and her family in the future."