Bowel cancer screening capsules

Tiny pill cameras that can film tumours in the gut to be trialled by NHS.

The capsule camera allows doctors to look for early cases of bowel cancer without carrying out invasive hospital procedures.

Professor Peter Johnson, the NHS clinical director for cancer, hopes the new technology will save lives.

He said “Every year in England, we diagnose around 42,000 people with bowel cancer, that’s more than 100 people a day.

“We think that this camera test might be a better option than waiting for a normal colonoscopy.”

The cameras take two pictures per second as the capsule travels through the digestive system. The images are then stored in a data recorder that the patient carries around in a bag.

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New devices measuring just 23mm will help the NHS detect some cancers quicker.

They are a simpler alternative to traditional endoscopy where a patient has a tube put into their body with a camera to look for cancer of the colon.

Hospitals have been forced to cancel and delay large numbers of endoscopies during the coronavirus surge and new rules on protecting staff and patients from infection mean the process takes longer with fewer people able to be seen in the same time.

The technology has been used for years in America and in some NHS trusts after being licensed in the US since 2001. Scottish hospitals launched a similar scheme in November.

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