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Rheta Mankin | Southlakeoncology

Camera Pill Takes Colon Cancer Screening to a New Level

Apr 6th 2015 at 12:59 AM

While there’s no shortage of routine medical examinations that people dread showing up for, the colonoscopy just might top the list. Despite its unpleasant and invasive nature, this screening exam has proven itself time and again to be a lifesaver. Courtesy of a new technological breakthrough, however, patients may have a less intimidating option at their disposal to help them and their doctors determine if colon cancer is a potential concern. A tiny “camera pill” is delivering a new way for medical professionals to gain the internal images they need to screen for polyps and tumors.

Use of the camera pill doesn’t eliminate the need for bowel preparation, but it does enable patients to mostly go about their normal routine as the screening pictures are taken. Once bowel prep is completed, the pill that contains the camera is swallowed. As the camera makes its way through the intestines it snaps pictures along the way, enabling doctors to determine if there is a need for more in-depth testing. The entire process may take up to 10 hours to complete.

Since it’s still a very new alternative, the camera pill is only used as a follow up for a colonoscopy. This option, for example, may be used in between regularly scheduled colonoscopies for patients who need more rigorous monitoring to detect polyps. Even so, it is hoped that this technology will advance enough to enable its use as a first-line of screening at some point down the road.

As colon cancer continues to be among the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in both men and women, it’s important for people to keep up with routine screening examinations. When caught early, most forms of colorectal cancer are highly treatable. Diligence in screening, however, is critical for raising survival rates. The camera pill simply provides a more palatable alternative when it’s use is indicated.

About the Center

Southlake Oncology is a Choice Cancer Care facility. Using state-of-the-art treatment processes, doctors here deliver expert care with compassion. Within the clinic our patients will find a peaceful, spa-like atmosphere, an experienced and trained medical staff, and our board certified medical oncology and hematology physicians Dr. James Mackey and Dr. Kiran Kancharla. Southlake Oncology also offers ample and convenient free parking to all of our patients and family members. Visit for more information on treatment options available at their centers.


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