Capsule cameras that can detect cancer within hours go on trial in Bedford

Patients can swallow the camera and get on with their day

By Clare Turner
Tuesday, 10th August 2021, 12:49 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th August 2021, 6:56 pm

An innovative pilot scheme using capsule cameras to identify cancer and other diseases is being rolled out - and Bedford Hospital is one of the first to trial it.

Patients swallow the miniature camera - no bigger than a pill - to get a cancer diagnosis within hours while they get on with their normal day.

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.

You'll swallow a capsule cameras similar to this

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 Babur Javaid, consultant gastroenterologist and colon capsule service lead at Bedford Hospital and Samantha Piazza, the endoscopy deputy lead nurse for the capsule

Traditional endoscopies mean people need to attend hospital for procedures, which acts as a deterrent for many people.

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.

Some 400 patients at Bedford Hospital will be given access to the colon capsule, making Bedford one of the first areas in England to roll out the technology.