A new camera can be added to your toilet bowl. Not only does it watch you while you do your business, but it also monitors your bowels for cancer and can alert you to changes or if any warning signs develop. The camera is state-of-the-art and clips to the side of the toilet bowl just like a toilet freshener. The camera scans stools that have gone into the toilet to see if they are laced with traces of blood, which is a sure-fire sign of bowel cancer.

The toilet camera is also connected to the user’s phone. After analyzing poop, the toilet device then sends the data to the smartphone. The smartphone uses a program that analyzes the images created during the process to see if the stool contains any warning signs of bowel cancer. Within minutes, the smartphone user can get the information and see if it is something they need to worry about – or if they can get back to their day as usual.

Not only can the results be shared directly with the patient’s doctor, but the smartphone-connected camera can also help determine if a colonoscopy or other procedure is necessary. The initial tests of the toilet camera indicate that it is ninety percent effective at locating blood in stools. This means that it can save the lives of people who might be at high risk of developing bowel or colon cancer.

In the United Kingdom, bowel cancer is very common as it wills upwards of 16,000 people per year. Because one in twenty people are expected to develop the disease over their lifetimes, and those over age fifty are at higher risk, the toilet bowl imaging technology could truly help those who are at risk.

If a patient does have bowel cancer, it is likely that their stools will include blood. When a tumor develops inside of the colon or bowels, it can damage blood vessels, which then push blood into the stool.

Bowel cancer, when caught early, can be treated. The earlier someone catches the disease, the more likely they are to beat it. For example, only about ten percent of people who have their colon cancer caught at stage one pass away after five years. If the cancer is caught at stage four, when it has already spread, only about 10 percent of people are expected to survive after five years.

OutSense created the toilet camera. They claim their device detects blood in stool nine times out of ten. However, these results still need to go through the peer-review process to ensure that they are accurate. Nevertheless, OutSense hopes to gain approval for their device within two years, so it can start helping patients in the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, David Crosby, head of prevention and early detection research at Cancer Research UK, says: “This device is an interesting piece of technology, which could allow people to spot early changes to their bowel health, prior to the onset of symptoms. But it is at an early stage of development, and we need peer-reviewed evidence to show that it works.”

What do you think about the newfangled toilet camera?