At the time of Belle's death (Dr Cockburn's mother ), Dr. Cockburn had just been certified in thermal imaging. This procedure reads with a special camera, the infra red heat radiating from human skin. A computer then displays an image on a monitor which can easily identify these abnormal heat patterns. The image looks much like the weather maps that you see on television. Recently thermal photography has been used in TV commercials for back pain and arthritis remedies by showing the changes in heat by use of these products.
By this time Dr. Cockburn had been published internationally and was well known as a researcher, educator and author in the health care field. Interested in constantly upgrading his diagnostic skills, he became board certified as a clinical thermographer, later becoming a fellow.
One day, a female patient, 40 years in age was referred by a physician for thermal evaluation as a result of headaches and neck pain that could not be diagnosed. During the routine examination, highly abnormal heat patterns were emitted from the left breast. So intense were these thermal patterns, Dr. Cockburn contacted a thoracic surgeon who was well versed not only in breast pathology, but with thermal imaging. The patient was subsequently referred for mammography confirming ductal carcinoma in situ.
Dr. Cockburn began a 10 year period of searching for the facts and the myths of this highly valuable procedure, published many papers and taught the first Diplomate program for thermal imaging in the United States. Finally, Dr. Cockburn received credentials as a Diplomate in Forensic Examination and received approval for the breast thermal imaging procedure under his protocols from the State Board of Examiners.
Dr. Cockburn determined in 1995 that the basic problem with thermography was the entrepreneurial motivation behind performing the procedure. This is detailed in the article "Breast Thermal Imaging, the paradigm shift" found on the main page of this web site.
Dr. Cockburn has established the Isabelle Tracy Memorial Breast Health Foundation in tribute to his mother as a not for profit organization in an effort to bring forward the correct implementation and usage of thermal imaging procedures under his protocols.
(c) breastthermography.org - this website is an archived version.