Colorectal patients at The Royal Oldham Hospital are now able to access initial investigations for cancer quickly and safely using an innovative new Colon Capsule Endoscopy (CCE) imaging system, which is set to revolutionise the way that patients access the 2-week colorectal cancer pathway in the future.
The CCE service is part of an initial trial being introduced by the NHS with 11,000 patients in England in 40 parts of the country in a drive to prioritise cancer care.
A year-long pilot research study is underway to evaluate the pros and cons of the new Colon Capsule Endoscopy (CCE) technology, which if successful, will simplify and improve the early diagnosis of gastrointestinal disease, especially colorectal cancer, which is still responsible for many avoidable patient deaths.
The CCE service provides patients with a miniature camera no bigger than a pill, which they swallow. This innovative imaging technology then takes 5-8 hours to travel through the patient’s digestive system, taking two pictures per second, checking for signs of cancer and other conditions like Crohn’s disease. The system provides full images of the bowel and the information it generates is sent directly to a data recorder held by the patient in a shoulder bag. This means that once the pill has been swallowed, patients can go about their day as normal.
Traditional endoscopy investigations mean that patients usually need to attend hospital and have a tube inserted to help us detect whether there are any growths (polyps) in the bowel. This new technology offers patients a simple, convenient and pain-free alternative. It will help us speed up investigations for cancer and ultimately, diagnosis and treatment for many patients.