11 March 2021

The colon capsule endoscopy is a tiny camera the size of a large pill that is swallowed. As the device moves through the bowel, it takes two photos every second. Thousands of photos are sent wirelessly to a data recorder that the patient carries over their shoulder like a bag. The whole process takes five to eight hours.

The recordings are then examined by a specialist doctor for anything suspicious including signs of bowel cancer or other conditions like Crohn’s Disease. The patient can then be referred for further investigation, such as a colonoscopy.

Over the coming months, around 11,000 people in England will be invited to take part in the initial trial in 40 areas of the country.

The PillCam has been designed as a less invasive alternative to traditional endoscopies.

Bowel Research UK are delighted that research has made it possible to examine your colon internally without the need for a colonoscopy.

Co-chair of Bowel Research UK and bowel cancer survivor Paul Reynolds, said: “No one enjoys a colonoscopy! They are extremely intrusive and the preparation is very unpleasant. The ability to get the information that a colonoscopy provides by swallowing a pill is a game changer. Sign me up.”

These potentially lifesaving checks can be completed quickly and safely at home. Thus, may avoid the need to go to hospital and should help to reduce the demand for a colonoscopy and pressure on the NHS.

The PillCam can reduce wait times and help catch bowel cancer early which is vital.

The NHS clinical director for cancer, Professor Peter Johnson, says:

“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 NHS message to anyone experiencing symptoms is clear – do not delay, help us to help you by coming forward for care – the NHS is ready and able to treat you.”


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