NHS rolls out capsule cameras to test for colon cancers

Miniature cameras which patients can swallow to get checked for cancer are being trialled across the NHS.

The imaging technology, in a capsule no bigger than a pill, can provide a diagnosis within hours. Known as a colon capsule endoscopy, the cameras can allow patients to carry out cancer checks at home.

The capsule endoscopy normally takes five to eight hours and provides full images of the bowel with information sent to a data recorder in a shoulder bag, so patients can go about their day.

An initial group of 11,000 NHS patients in England will receive the capsule cameras in more than 40 parts of the country. As the cameras pass through the colon, they take two pictures per second checking for signs of cancer and other conditions like Crohn’s disease.

The infection control measures required to make traditional endoscopies Covid secure means they are taking much longer to do, which has reduced the number of people who can have a colonoscopy during the pandemic.

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