NHS rolls out capsule cameras to test for cancer

1 min read

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

Known as a colon capsule endoscopy, the cameras are the latest NHS innovation to help patients access cancer checks at home. The new technology involves swallowing a camera pill that takes pictures of the bowel as it passes through with information sent to a data recorder that the patient wears at their waist. The imaging technology can provide a diagnosis within hours.

The cameras will help to speed up the checks, catching more cancers early when they are easier to treat. Without the need for a dedicated hospital space to conduct examinations, the technology will help to increase diagnostic capacity, as well as meaning that patients who are shielding or cautious about going to a hospital can perform the procedure at home.

An initial group of 11,000 NHS patients in England will receive the capsule cameras in more than 40 parts of the country.

NHS Chief Executive Sir Simon Stevens said: “As we come out of 'peak covid' and the disruption of the pandemic, the NHS is now pushing ahead with genuine innovation to expand services for many other conditions. That’s why we're now trialling these ingenious capsule cameras to allow more people to undergo cancer investigations quickly and safely. What sounds like sci-fi is now becoming a reality, and as these minute cameras pass through your body, they take two pictures per second checking for signs of cancer and other conditions like Crohn’s disease.”

Such innovations are encouraging and we welcome the news that they will help to achieve earlier and quicker diagnoses for patients. We look forward to such advances in technology for the diagnoses of brain tumours.

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