New camera technology launched could improve bowel cancer treatment

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GROUNDBREAKING technology has launched at a hospital in Glasgow that will help detect bowel cancer.

The new technology, a tiny pill containing two cameras, is being used at the Louisa Jordan Hospital in Glasgow.

Clinicians from NHS Lanarkshire examined patients at NHS Louisa Jordan, using the mini camera on 11 December.

SCOTCAP camera being used - Health News Scotland
(Image provided) The cameras take pictures of the lining of the bowel to look for any problems or signs of disease. This test can be used instead of a colonoscopy

The new technology comes as part of Scotland’s Colon Capsule Endoscopy Service (SCOTCAP).

The pill, containing two small cameras, is ingested by the patient and will be used to look at the lining of the bowels.

The roll-out of  SCOTCAP across Scotland has been accelerated in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

NHS Lanarkshire are hosting their Colon Capsule Endoscopy clinics at NHS Louisa Jordan and University Hospital Monklands, while NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde patients will attend NHS Louisa Jordan.

SCOTCAP in the bowels - Health News Scotland
The new procedure which is being introduced across NHS health boards in Scotland as an alternative to a traditional colonoscopy

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and NHS Lanarkshire are the latest Health Boards to open clinics as part of the  programme.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s clinic opened on Wednesday this week at the NHS Louisa Jordan.

Bowel cancer is the second most common cancer globally and has a very high incidence in Scotland. The new clinics are said to detect bowel cancer earlier and cut waiting times.

The Scottish Government is backing the programme, which uses Colon Capsule Endoscopy (CCE) technology to deliver clinical benefits, streamline service delivery and positively transform patient experience.

Professor Colin McKay - Health News Scotland
Professor Colin McKay

Professor Colin McKay, Chief of Medicine, North Sector, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “Colon capsule endoscopy will make an important contribution to large bowel investigation as our services recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This exciting development will help cut waiting times and will mean that many patients will avoid the need for more invasive tests.”

The new approach was jointly developed between the public sector and Industry through an Innovation Partnership and approved following the largest evaluation in the UK to date.

The evaluation involved nearly 450 patients across three Health Boards and has been championed by clinical lead Professor Angus Watson of NHS Highland.

In the coming months the new service will progressively be made available to patients in all Health Board areas in Scotland.

Mr Ans Khan, NHS Lanarkshire Associate Medical Director said: “We are excited to offer this new diagnostic procedure to people with suspected colonic conditions.

“Colon capsule endoscopy is suitable for many patients as a painless alternative to conventional colonoscopy.

“It enables us to conveniently explore the entire colon and can help us to detect or exclude cancer more quickly, as well as reducing the waiting time for colonoscopies.”