Patient to have bowel polyps removed live in TV advert for cancer charity

Lucy Handley, special to CNBC
David Mack | Getty Images

British charity Cancer Research U.K. will show a live colonoscopy in a TV ad break Wednesday, to highlight the importance of research to treatments.

Patient Philip McSparron will undergo the procedure to remove two bowel polyps, small growths on the inner lining of the colon or rectum, most of which are not usually cancerous. McSparron said he goes to screenings after his brother's bowel cancer was caught in 2010.

"By allowing my colonoscopy to be shown live, I hope to show that it's a simple procedure, not something to be frightened of. 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," he said in an online statement.

During the procedure, a camera connected to a tube called a colonscope will show live footage of the polyps being removed, and is part of Cancer Research UK's "Right Now" campaign, showing real-life stories of patients, carers and staff.

Cancer Research U.K. executive director of fundraising and marketing Ed Aspel said that he hoped the ad would show the impact of research on treatments.

"Broadcasting Philip's colonoscopy live gives us the opportunity to show one of the many people across the UK who is benefiting from procedures that wouldn't be possible without research. 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," he said.

The 90-second advert will be shown on the U.K.'s Channel 4 at around 3.25pm GMT on January 18, followed by a 60-second version at 9.10pm GMT during drama program "No Offence". The latter has the potential to reach around 1.9 million people, the average overnight audience for the show. It will also be streamed live on Facebook where a specialist nurse will answer questions.

"While most polyps don't develop into cancer, some do, therefore removing them can help prevent bowel cancer developing," Cancer Research U.K. said in an online statement.

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