Capsule endoscopies’ to detect bowel cancer are a welcome innovation – but must be robustly evaluated, says College

The College has responded to NHS England’s announcement of miniature cameras ‘no bigger than a pill’ being trialled to check for bowel cancer.

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs and a GP in East London, said:

“We’re aware that some patients are reluctant to seek help for certain cancers because the diagnostic tests available can be invasive, so this is a fascinating development and we will be very interested to see the results of the trial.

“GPs are preparing for an upsurge in cases of suspected cancer post-COVID and the ‘capsule cameras’, along with the new test for cervical cancer, are welcome developments that could enable more patients to monitor and manage their own health at home without embarrassment or discomfort.

“However, all new innovations must be robustly evaluated, and innovations used for screening must satisfy the criteria for effective screening tests. Patients and doctors also need the reassurance that there are sufficient resources and follow-up services to manage the consequences of results that necessitate further investigation or treatment.

“We would remind any patients who currently have serious concerns about their health, particularly symptoms of cancer, not to delay in seeking expert medical opinion.”

Further information

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RCGP Press office – 020 3188 7633/7494/7574
Out of hours: 020 3188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.