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Tiny cancer camera capsules are easy act to swallow

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Camera capsules which can be swallowed are coming to Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital shortly.

The miniature devices, which are no bigger than a pill, will offer an alternative to patients having an endoscopy - a tube containing a camera inserted into the body.

NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group is part of a national pilot to trial the imaging technology, known as a Colon Capsule Endoscopy (CCE).

a doctor with a colon capsule endoscopy unit. (49446092)
a doctor with a colon capsule endoscopy unit. (49446092)

Two tiny wireless cameras inside take two high quality pictures of the lining of the bowel every second to detect any sign of disease. The images are beamed to a recorder that the patient wears and, once the images are downloaded and reviewed, a report is generated.

Norfolk and Waveney CCG said only a small number of people will be suitable for the trial initially.

Maggie Tween, cancer programme manager with the CCG and North East of England Cancer Alliance: “As we come out of lockdown and the disruption of the pandemic, the NHS is trialling new innovations like the capsule endoscopy to help hospitals to manage the demand on their services.

"That’s why we’re now trialling these ingenious capsule cameras in Norfolk and Waveney to allow more people to undergo investigations quickly and safely.

"This latest innovation will ensure people can get the checks they need and conveniently – the technology might be tiny, but these cameras will make a big difference for patients.”

James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Gorleston is one of the 42 trusts in England taking part in the CCE evaluation project.

It was the first location in Norfolk and Waveney to start the service, with the first patients being fitted with the recording device and swallowing the capsule on June 30.

The service is due to be rolled out to The Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals later this month. The pilot will run for 12 months.

The CCG said new ways of testing patients for cancer are also on the horizon.

It said: "From a patient perspective it means that some patients could avoid having a colonoscopy – which is a definite positive.

"There is also potential for initiatives like this to support improved diagnostic capacity across the three trusts as we move towards more seamless system working."

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