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A minute and a half of live surgery will be shown on Channel 4 this week in the first TV advert to show an operation in progress.
The broadcaster, in collaboration with Cancer Research UK, will air a colonoscopy as it takes place at Cardiff and Vale University hospital.
A colonoscopy is the removal of bowel polyps, small lumps on the lining of the colon which are usually harmless but sometimes develop into cancer.
Footage from a camera linked to a flexible tube called a colonoscope will be screened on Wednesday afternoon at around 3.25pm, with commentary from surgeon Sunil Dolwani.
A 60-second version of the advert will then be shown again at around 9.30pm, when audience numbers are greater.
“We want viewers to join us to experience the unique insight of seeing live inside the human body, and witness a procedure that can actually prevent cancer from developing,” said Ed Aspel, Cancer Research UK’s director of fundraising and marketing.
Patient Philip McSparron, 60, will have two bowel polyps removed by Dr Dolwani, which were discovered after routine bowel cancer screening picked up hidden traces of blood in his faeces.
He said he was not afraid to have the procedure broadcast to a potential audience of millions and hoped to show it was a “simple procedure, not something to be frightened of”.
“My brother’s bowel cancer was caught early in 2010 and since then, I’ve been careful to go for screening,” said Mr McSparron, a grandfather from Barry in south Wales.
“Hopefully people will be interested in seeing the live footage and it will encourage them to be more willing to talk about cancer and think about taking up regular screening when offered.”
Bowel cancer is the UK’s fourth most common type of cancer, after breast, prostate and lung cancer, according to Cancer Research UK.
More than 40,000 new cases of bowel cancer were diagnosed in 2014 – around 110 a day – and the incidence of the disease has increased by 14 per cent since the late 1970s.
“When I was asked to be part of this advert I was keen that we use the opportunity to highlight the colonoscopy procedure that can remove bowel polyps, diagnose cancer earlier and through helping start treatment early save lives,” said Dr Dolwani.
“In the early stages of having a polyp or bowel cancer people may not have any symptoms and the home screening test is simple to do.
I hope viewers will be interested to see what happens during a colonoscopy to remove bowel polyps and I am thankful to Philip for allowing us to show his procedure."