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Market Analysis: Radiation oncology

The radiotherapy equipment market is expected to grow beyond $5 billion in another 5 to 7 years, with double-digit growth, according to a new report released by MarketsandMarkets. External-beam radiation therapy (EBRT) will continue to hold the major share in this market, fueled by an ever-increasing patient pool that is eligible for radiation therapy.
According to TechNavio, a worldwide rise in cancer cases and the increase in availability of advanced radiation therapy equipment in the market are major drivers of growth.
“The key challenge for the global radiation therapy equipment market is the high cost of equipment,” a TechNavio analyst said. “In addition, companies in the pharmaceutical or biotechnology fields are seeking to develop alternative methods for cancer treatment that are more effective than radiation therapy, which could result in a decreased demand for radiation therapy equipment.”
About half of all cancer patients receive some type of radiation therapy sometime during the course of their treatment. Conventional radio-
therapy equipment like X-rays, gamma rays and charged particles comprised of high-energy radiation beams are capable of shrinking tumors and killing cancer causing cells.
Approximately 70 percent of all the cancer patients globally undergo radiation therapy. But almost 20 percent of malignant tumors are radiation-resistant. In such cases, neutron-based radiation therapy is more effective. Fast neutron therapy increases the effectiveness of treatment by 20 percent to 40 percent, when compared with traditional therapy.
The radiation can be delivered via external-beam radiation therapy, internal radiation therapy or systemic radiation therapy. Systemic radiation therapy uses radioactive substances, such as radioactive iodine, that travel in the blood to kill cancer cells.
The market is also segmented by various technologies like intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT), cyber knife, gamma knife, proton / neutron therapy and dynamic multi-leaf collimator (DMLC), among others, though EBRT continues to represent the largest segment.
In the global radiotherapy market, the linear accelerator devices market contributed the largest share (65%) of the total market with $2.8 billion in 2011. According to MarketsandMarkets, that figure is expected to reach $3.7 billion by 2016. A key driving factor for this market is the increased usage of these devices due to significant technological advancements and the capability to provide better and more precise treatment.
North America is the biggest market for vascular interventional devices, followed by Europe. However, Asian countries represent the most promising and fastest growing markets, as low procedural and infrastructural costs have led to an increased drive of patients.
Major players in the market include Varian Medical System (U.S.), Elekta AB, Accuray (U.S.), IBA Group, Eckert & Ziegler BEBIG, iCAD, Inc., GE Healthcare and Covidien.

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