Innovative New Cancer Screening Technique and New Fears over Undiagnosed Breast Cancer Cases
Pillcams for Cancer Detection
Over the last few months, we have seen the NHS start to embrace all new cancer detection techniques and technologies. Diagnostic viewing inside the body with a camera, known as an endoscopy, isn’t a new concept. However, for the first time ever, patients are being invited to swallow miniature cameras as part of an early cancer detection program. These miniature cameras are encased in a capsule that is no larger than a normal pill. Within hours they can feed back enough information for doctors to be able to provide a diagnosis of conditions like Crohn’s, bowel cancer or other gastrointestinal problems. This new diagnostic technique, known as a colon capsule endoscopy, is being trialled in more than 40 parts of England.
NHS Chief Executive, Sir Simon Stevens has said, ‘As we come out of ‘peak COVID’ and the disruption of the pandemic, the NHS is now pushing ahead with genuine innovation to expand services for many other conditions. That’s why we’re now trialling these ingenious capsule cameras to allow more people to undergo cancer investigations quickly and safely’.
As we know, this is something that is vitally important. Early detection of all cancers is the best way to combat the disease. Statistics from Cancer Research UK show that the five year survival rate for stage 1 bowel cancer is around 90%, but this drops to just 10% if the patient is diagnosed at stage 4. We welcome the innovation and hope that it proves successful in detecting cancer early and saving lives.
Fears over Late Breast Cancer Diagnosis Grow
Meanwhile, this week, Baroness Delyth Morgan, the chief executive of the charity Breast Cancer Now, released a statement estimating that as many as 11,000 people in the UK could be living with undiagnosed breast cancer due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This is believed to be a direct result of fewer women attending early detection opportunities, with around 1.2 million fewer women in the UK undergoing breast screening between March and December 2020. Baroness Morgan called for the government to invest further in tackling the cancer crisis, stating ‘only then will we be giving women the best chance of an early breast cancer diagnosis which we know is critical to their chances of survival’.
Someone who knows this all too well is Tracey Crouch, MP for Chatham and Aylesford and former Sports Minister. Tracey has very publicly shared her breast cancer journey which began in June 2020. Having recently completed radiotherapy treatment, she has encouraged other women to ‘check their bits and bobbins’, stating ‘it’s really important that I make people aware of the better outcomes that you have with early diagnosis’.
Extra Investment in Cancer Services
Health Minister, Jo Churchill, has reiterated the importance of additional investment in the NHS stating that “an extra £1 billion will be used to boost diagnosis and treatment in the year ahead, which will allow the NHS to invest in cutting-edge imaging technology such as this (referring to colon capsule endoscopies), making cancer screening less invasive and more convenient for patients”.
Greater convenience, less trauma and more affordability are three of the key benefits associated with RMDM’s PanTum Detect universal cancer blood test. It’s our hope that simple, reliable and cost-effective tests like ours are swiftly adopted as the operational standard for the early detection of cancer.
PanTum Detect is the first line of defence against cancer, enabling it to be diagnosed at the earliest and most treatable stage. You can find out more about PanTum Detect by visiting our Diagnostics page.
Our innovative PanTum Detect blood test is also available at the Centre for Health and Human Performance, 76 Harley Street, Marylebone, London W1G 7HH.