The Lancet Cytosponge article

During the COVID-19 pandemic, endoscopy services have been severely curtailed—eg. in England, UK, a 30% reduction of diagnostic endoscopies has been reported for the period between January and April 2020, compared with the same period in 2019, with an estimated 750 oesophagogastric cancers going undiagnosed.

A delay in oesophageal cancer diagnosis could adversely affect outcomes, such as has previously been seen with low endoscopy referral rates being linked with poor outcomes from oesophageal cancer.

The Cytosponge is a non-endoscopic diagnostic tool that was developed to detect Barrett's oesophagus in patients with reflux symptoms. Cytosponge consists of a tethered capsule that is swallowed in a primary or secondary care office setting; it collects oesophageal cells.

This method of screening can be carried out by a nurse at your local GP surgery and it is hoped this procedure will be made available to patients in the next 3-5 years.

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