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Radiation oncology: MR and CT taking on bigger roles

by Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | September 16, 2016
From the September 2016 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine


In late July, a study that shows the benefits of TomoTherapy for low-risk breast cancer patients was published in AntiCancer Research, International Journal of Cancer Research and Treatment. After 34 months, there was no recurrence of cancer in the treated breast and over 95 percent of the patients and their physicians rated cosmesis as good/excellent. Some facilities have purchased the TomoTherapy System to use solely for breast radiotherapy, according to Accuray. The new Radixact System will be commercially launched in the first quarter of fiscal year 2017.

Market update
The global radiotherapy market was worth $5.59 billion in 2015 and is expected to reach $7.54 billion by 2020, according to a MarketsandMarkets report. Technological advancements in radiotherapy systems, the growing elderly population, increasing prevalence of cancer globally and symposiums that drive investments in radiotherapy are expanding the market. The leaders in the market are Varian, Elekta and Accuray. Varian estimates that it has over 50 percent of the global radiotherapy market, pertaining to linear accelerator technology, stereotactic radiosurgery and other cancer treatment systems that utilize X-ray.

Radiation therapy in Africa
The challenges of communicable diseases have been addressed to a good enough extent in Africa to allow more people to live longer. But now the continent is dealing with higher incidences of cancers in the elderly population. “Expansion of the field of radiation oncology in Africa, in particular, is driven by the rising importance of cancer as a public health challenge,” says Kavanagh. “In one sense, that is not all bad and actually represents progress.”

Modern radiotherapy technology has been installed in the region over the past few years. In early August, Varian Medical Systems was selected to supply Clinac iX systems to Ethiopia to treat the more than 90 million people in the region. A major hurdle that Africa is experiencing is the lack of people with the skills to maintain and operate the equipment. Varian and others are working to change that.

“What we have been trying to do is bring experience from people who use the equipment all of the time, create a training program and train people within the country,” says Corey Zankowski, vice president of product and solutions portfolio at Varian. “[Then we plan to] set up a large enough entity in the country, so they can sustain and train more and more care providers in the region.”

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