Radiation therapy refers to the medical use of targeted energy such as radioactive substances, x-rays etc., to destroy or kill cancerous cells without affecting the nearby healthy tissues. This therapy can be deployed as a sole therapy or as an adjuvant therapy, or it can also be employed to shrink the tumor cells, reduce pain and pressure or any other symptoms of cancer (also known as palliative radiation therapy). Currently, acceptance of radiation therapy is increasing owing to the consistent rise in cancer incidence worldwide. As per the updates published by World Health Organization (WHO), in February 2015, cancer is among the leading causes of mortality and morbidity across the globe with approximately 14 million new cases and around 8.2 million cancer related deaths in 2012.
In majority of cancer treatments, radiation therapy acts as an effective treatment option; however, other types of cancers may respond to combination treatment options such as surgery, chemotherapy or immunotherapy. External and internal radiation therapies constitute the two major cancer treatment options. Systemic radiation therapy, intraoperative radiation therapy, radioimmunotherapy and radiosensitizers and radioprotectors represent other types of oncology radiation therapies. External beam radiation therapy involves the transmission of radiation through a machine positioned outside the body and encompasses several types such as stereotactic radiation therapy, proton beam therapy, 3-D conformal radiation therapy and intensity modulated radiation therapy.
On the other hand, internal radiation therapy also referred to as brachytherapy involves the placement of a radioactive material (implant) via catheter or a carrier at the tumor site and the tissue surrounding it. These radioactive implants may either be temporary or permanent and may demand hospital stay. With time, these implants lose their radioactivity but inactive seeds remain in the body. Other treatment options such as systemic radiation therapy involve the use of radioactive materials such as strontium-89 or iodine-131 which travel in the blood to kill cancerous cells while radioimmunotherapy involves the use of monoclonal antibodies that deliver radiation directly to the cancer cells.
The market for oncology radiation therapy can be majorly segmented on the basis of type of method, radiation source and application. Based on the type of method, radiation therapy can be further categorized into stereotactic radiotherapy and stereotactic radiosurgery. Type of radiation source can be further classified into two major sub segments namely external beam radiation therapy and internal radiation therapy along with their technologies. Use of radiation therapy in treatment of various cancers such as colorectal, breast, lung and prostate represents the application areas of oncology radiation therapy market. Geographically, North American and European countries represent the major revenue contributors owing to consistent technological advances followed by rigorous research initiatives to identify novel treatment methods. Asia Pacific and LATAM regions provide lucrative opportunities for the growth and acceptance of radiation therapies in cancer treatment. Safety regulations and reimbursement policies for radiation therapies govern the market growth.
The major factors favoring market growth are increasing cancer incidence followed by consistent technological advances in cancer research and treatment measures. In addition, consistent rise in geriatric population along with favorable reimbursement policies will propel the market growth. On the other hand, harmful side effects of radiation therapy followed by high cost of the procedures are the major factors that might hamper the market growth. Furthermore, factors such as lack of adequate infrastructure in conjunction with increasing healthcare expenditure might further limit the market growth. Accuray, Inc., Boston Scientific Corporation, Brainlab AG, C.R. Bard, Inc., GE Healthcare, NTP Radioisotopes (pty) Ltd., Positron Corporation, Siemens Healthcare and Varian Medical Systems, Inc. are some of the players operating in this market.
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