Health technology speeding up cancer diagnosis in Scotland

A new procedure is speeding up cancer diagnosis in Scotland.

The cut-sponge diagnostic service was introduced during the pandemic and has now been used by over 5000 patients.

The service means cancer checks are available closer to people's homes, and also reduces the strain on the health service.

Patients can get scope results by swallowing a small pill with a thread attached, instead of using traditional scope methods. Once swallowed, the pill expands into a sponge, which can then be pulled back up, whilst collecting cells on the way which can then be examined.

The cytosponge can help to identify conditions that are know risk factors for oesophageal cancer including Barrett’s oesophagus.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “The cytosponge is an excellent example of an innovative technology that allows people to access services quicker, and closer to home. It is helping to deliver better outcomes for patients, while also easing pressures at our hospitals. That’s why I am pleased to see it being used so widely.

“Cytosponge offers a simpler alternative to endoscopy procedures and takes only around 15 minutes. It is a much simpler and more patient-friendly test than endoscopy that enables faster diagnosis of patients at risk of pre or early cancer, without the need for them to undergo a more invasive procedure.

“Using this new technology means we can help tackle the waiting lists for endoscopy procedures that have arisen during the pandemic.”