Tiny cameras that are small enough to be swallowed and can film tumours in the gut are being trialled in the fight against cancer.

CalledPillCams, they are encased in a capsule to make them easier to ingest, and it is hoped they can replace more invasive methods of screening.

Around 11,000 patients across England will take part in the initial trial in more than 40 areas of the country.

Professor Peter Johnson, the NHS clinical director for cancer, hopes the new technology will save lives.

“Every year in England, we diagnose around 42,000 people with bowel cancer, that’s more than 100 people a day,” said Prof Johnson.

“We think that this camera test might be a better option than waiting for a normal colonoscopy.”

The capsule camera allows doctors to look for early cases of bowel cancer without carrying out invasive and uncomfortable hospital procedures involving tubes.