Tiny pill cameras to be used to screen bowels

Arthur Greene

This is what the future looks like: instead of having a camera attached to a wire inserted into their bowels, patients swallow a camera shaped like a pill to check for bowel cancer.

It’s already happening in England.

The tiny capsule contains several miniature cameras, which the patient will be able to swallow in the comfort of their own home. The patient will first be fitted with a belt and receiver around their waist under their clothing to capture the pictures.

The pictures will be sent wirelessly from the capsule to a cancer specialist who can then determine whether the patient has bowel cancer.

The capsule will also check for signs of other serious conditions such as Crohn’s disease, a type of inflammatory bowel disease.

This painless procedure will allow patients to avoid a standard endoscopy, which involves a tiny camera, mounted on a long flexible wire, inserted into the bowels through the patient’s rear. Doctors in England say that this uncomfortable procedure has deterred many from receiving the crucial examination.

Leading English doctors say that the capsule is part of a trend which will see an increase in stay-at-home medical procedures in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prof Martin Marshall, chair of England’s Royal College of GPs (general practitioners), said “GPs are preparing for an upsurge in cases of suspected cancer cases post-Covid, and the capsule cameras […] are welcome developments that could enable more patients to monitor and manage their own health at home without embarrassment or discomfort.”

While Prof Andrew Goddard, president of England’s Royal College of Physicians, said “As technologies develop, we will see more and more tests that can be done at home, which is great, provided they are accessible by all.”

Picture source: @brandpress

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