Innovative way of detecting bowel cancer praised by patients

A special capsule people swallow to help detect bowel issues is being offered in Teesside – and patients are full of praise for the innovation.

Capsule endoscopy team in clinic room with patient.The new development at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation is already helping diagnose health issues including cancers.

The pill-sized capsule has a small disposable camera, taking thousands of pictures as it travels along the gut – helping examine parts of the bowel other tests such as an endoscopy or colonoscopy might not always reach.

The camera sends the images wirelessly to a data recorder worn on a patient’s waist.

The new procedure is led at the organisation by consultant in gastroenterology John Jacob and nurse endoscopist Dorisa Machan.

The Trust is one of more than 40 across the country chosen by NHS England to pilot the capsule.

Endoscopy capsule recorder being operated.Speaking from a clinic at the University Hospital of North Tees, Dr Jacob said: “This is a fantastic development for the service.

“A procedure like an endoscopy or colonoscopy is a more invasive procedure using a tube, which can be uncomfortable for patients.

“Whereas this is a small pill easily swallowed which works its way through the gut and looks at the small bowel as well as the colon.

“We are excited to have this new capsule technology here at the organisation for this trial.

“The pandemic has given us a real impetus to work more virtually – and this will help us to do that more and more.”

Alan Frost is one of the first patients to have the procedure at the Trust, having had an endoscopy test 20 years ago.

After visiting the unit and being explained about the procedure, he was asked to swallow the pill and was then fitted with a recorder device on his shoulder and waist.

He was then able to go home – returning to the unit later in the day to return the recorder.

Patient has capsule recorder fitted.He said: “Any development which moves healthcare on has to be a good thing.

“I am amazed at this technology – it is absolutely fantastic.

“I have had an endoscopy many years ago for another issue so I am able to compare – and I can say that this is a much more comfortable and simple procedure.”

Dorisa Machan, nurse endoscopist, said: “Patient feedback has already been excellent.

“In the short time we have been trialling this, we have made an impact. We have already helped diagnose a patient with bowel cancer, as a result of this capsule treatment.

“It’s a relatively simple procedure which only takes a few hours to complete once it has passed through the patient’s body.

“It’s easy and convenient for patients and helps give us the most accurate results we can.”



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