A pilot using advanced screening technology to identify cancer and other diseases early is being rolled out in Bedfordshire. The imaging technology is incorporated in a capsule no bigger than a pill, and can provide a diagnosis for cancer within hours.
Known as a colon capsule endoscopy, the cameras are the latest NHS innovation to help encourage people to undergo screening and provide non-invasive checks at home.
Traditional endoscopies mean people need to attend hospital for procedures, which acts as a deterrent for many people. Whereas the new technology allows people to go about their normal day, while undergoing a lifesaving wireless and tubeless endoscopy procedure.
The new procedure takes between five to eight hours and provides detailed images of the large bowel.
As the tiny camera passes through the body it takes two pictures per second with information sent to a data recorder in a shoulder bag. The cameras check for signs of cancer and other conditions like inflammation of the bowel or polyps.
11,000 NHS patients from 40 different places across England will be given access to the pilot and the Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care System is one of the places to be included in the pilot.
At Bedford Hospital, 400 patients will be given access to the colon capsule, making Bedford one of the first areas in England to roll out innovative technology to speed up cancer investigations, identify people who urgently need further tests and diagnose cancer early.
Dr Babur Javaid, consultant gastroenterologist and colon capsule service lead at Bedford Hospital, said:
“We are delighted to be part of this innovative trial.The colon capsule technology will ensure people can get the checks they need conveniently. The cameras are small and it will limit the amount of time people need to spend in hospital.
“This has the potential to make a huge difference for patients undergoing this treatment and will improve outcomes of patients – as we know that catching cancer at an early stage has a big impact on treatment options.”
Dr Sarah Whiteman, local GP and chair for NHS Bedfordshire, Luton, and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:
“The message to anyone experiencing symptoms of cancer is clear – do not delay, help us to help you by coming forward for care – the NHS is ready and able to treat you.
“This exciting pilot is just one of the ways that investment in innovation across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes is helping to identify patients that need treatment and importantly diagnosing cases of cancer early, giving patients the best possible outcomes from treatment. Early diagnosis saves lives.”
For more information about the Colon Capsule Endoscopy can be found here.