Endoscopy end: Pill containing camera could revolutionise bowel cancer diagnosis

Bowel cancer symptoms explained by Doctor Richard Roope

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The small camera, know as colon capsule endoscopy, is a pill taken by patient which can take photographs inside the human body. It can help doctors diagnose a tumour within just five hours without the invasive nature of traditional colonoscopies.

The technology is currently being trialled by 11,000 NHS patients in the UK.

Genevieve Edwards, chief executive at Bowel Cancer UK, told Mail Online it could also change the way doctors assess patients.

She said: “This has the potential to make a huge difference for people with bowel cancer symptoms and could help the NHS to prioritise those who urgently need further tests.”

The colon capsule endoscopy, which is the size of a large vitamin pill, would also prevent trips to the hospital.

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of the NHS, hailed the study as “genuine innovation” that will help enhance the NHS’ resources.

He told Mail Online: “What sounds like sci-fi is now becoming a reality.

“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 other conditions.”

The revolutionary pill could also help people at a higher risk of contracting coronavirus who would not need to attend a hospital to undergo the study.

Dr Ed Seward, director of endoscopy at University College London Hospitals, also told the news outlet: “Patients who may be shielding or cautious about going to a hospital can perform the procedure in the comfort of their own homes.”

Bowel cancer symptoms can be difficult to notice during its early stages.

There can be indications of this type of cancer in small changes to the appearance of stools, including a shift in their consistency.

Some bowel cancer patients may also find they have mucus in their stools or find that they are looser than they used to.

But changes to the toilet routine do not necessarily indicate bowel cancer complications.

Diarrhoea and constipation are very common, and are usually caused by something less severe.

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