The global radiation oncology market size was valued at USD 8,728.57 million in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 16,457.42 million by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 7.3% during the forecast period (2023–2031).
Radiation Oncology considers all aspects of research that affect the application of radiation to treat cancer. Radiation oncology (radiotherapy/radiotherapy) is a medical specialty that must be included in a multidisciplinary approach to treating cancer. A linear accelerator normally provides high-energy x-rays (photons). These painless, non-invasive therapeutic X-rays are used to treat many cancers. It uses photons with high energy, often provided by a linear accelerator. Several cancers are treated with these painless, non-invasive therapeutic X-rays.
A multidisciplinary team of radiation oncologists (specialist doctors), nurses, radiation therapists, and medical physicists assess, plan treatment, and assist patients with any side effects they may experience. An extremely cost-effective cancer treatment is radiation therapy. Radiation oncology uses cutting-edge technology and cutting-edge treatment methods. Several cancer patients have profited from recent advancements, which have led to improved cure rates, fewer side effects, quicker recovery times, and fewer treatments overall.
Radiation therapy is used in immunotherapy, chemotherapy, and in combination with surgeries. Physicians have been adopting radiotherapy due to its wide range of applications. The article published in Seminars in Radiation Oncology in 2017 estimated that more than 12,000 additional treatment machines will be required by 2035 in low- and middle-income countries alone. For example, China, India, and Brazil will require over 3,800, 1,200, and 400 additional machines by 2035.
Additionally, the adoption rate is significantly increasing in the developing countries of Asia-Pacific. For instance, in 2015, there were 363 centers (301 linear accelerators, 247 brachytherapy systems, and 228 Cobalt 60 units) providing radiotherapy treatment in India, which has increased to 545 teletherapy machines (180 telecobalt units and 365 medical accelerators) in 2019. Recent developments in radiation therapy enable substantial doses to be delivered to the target region without endangering neighboring healthy tissues. This has increased the chances of localized tumor control and improved cure rates, leading to increased demand for radiation therapy.
Global healthcare expenditure has been increasing steadily over the past few decades. It is expected to reach USD 18.28 trillion by 2040. According to OECD, the U.S. had the highest healthcare expenditure in 2018 (16.90 % of GDP). As per USA TODAY, countries that spend most on healthcare allocate 8.9%–16.4% of total GDP. The OECD reported that healthcare expenditure was 8.7% of GDP on average in OECD countries in the year 2018 as compared to 8.8% in 2017. In addition, the increase in healthcare expenditure resulted from increased spending for hospital care, clinical and physician services, private health insurance, retail prescription drugs, and increasing penetration of Medicaid. Therefore, a rise in healthcare expenditure is expected to increase the affordability of radiotherapy, thereby driving market expansion.
The introduction of highly advanced technologies in radiation therapy has led to a shortage of skilled radiotherapy specialists, such as radiographers, physicists, or dosimetrists. This problem is further aggravated by many practitioners retiring each year. Radiotherapy specialists must work longer hours, leading to burnout and increased errors. Lack of trained personnel, radiotherapy facilities, and technology contributes to treatment delays and increases mortality. For instance, in developed countries, there are around 2-3 radiation oncologists per 1,000 cancer patients, whereas Bangladesh reports only 0.76 radiation oncologists per 1,000 cancer patients. Such factors restrain market expansion.
There have been various technological advancements in radiation therapy over the years. Advanced forms of treatment such as Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT), Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), Volumetric-Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT), Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT), proton therapy, and Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) are widely preferred over conventional radiotherapy. In addition, technological advancements in computers have resulted in faster, smarter, and more capable treatment planning and have enabled constant imaging guidance, more precise dosing, and delivery of higher doses. This has resulted in greater efficiency and lesser adverse effects. Modern computer algorithms have made planning treatments and optimizing dosages simpler.
Additionally, the advent of stereotactic radiation therapy has helped overcome problems due to the movement of patients, such as during breathing. Advancements in stereotactic radiotherapy have also enabled its application in treating cancers initially not indicated for stereotactic radiotherapy, e.g., stereotactic ablative radiation therapy is effectively used for treating lung cancer. Therefore, technological advancements are anticipated to reduce the adverse effects of radiotherapy and improve the quality of radiotherapy treatment, thereby creating opportunities for market expansion.
The global radiation oncology market is segmented by type, technology, and application.
Based on type, the global market is bifurcated into external beam radiation therapy and internal beam radiation therapy.
The external beam radiation therapy segment dominates the global market and is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 7.4% over the forecast period. EBRT includes electron-emitting high-energy Linear Accelerators (LINAC), compact advanced radiotherapy systems, and proton beam therapy systems. EBRT is easy to deliver as radiologists can control the rate of radiation. Numerous applications are available for small, advanced radiotherapy systems like CyberKnife, Gamma Knife, and Tomotherapy. Proton therapy is one of the key types of EBRT and is anticipated to gain substantial market share over the forecast period.
The internal beam radiation therapy segment is further categorized into brachytherapy, systemic beam radiation therapy, and others. The brachytherapy segment dominates the market owing to the development and approval of new brachytherapy devices for treating various cancers.
Based on technology, the global market is divided into external beam radiation therapy and brachytherapy.
The external beam radiation therapy (Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)) segment is the largest contributor to the radiation oncology market share and is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 5.2% over the forecast period. External beam radiation therapy (EBRT) has been further categorized into Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT), Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), stereotactic radiotherapy, proton beam radiotherapy, 3D-CRT, and VMAT. These technologies are also non-invasive, which is anticipated to increase patient compliance. IMRT dominates the EBRT segment and is one of the conformal radiation therapy technologies. IMRT allows change in radiation intensity during treatment to specifically target cancer cells and limit the damage to adjoining healthy tissues. In addition, linear accelerators deliver radiation doses to the exact dimensions of tumors. IMRT is beneficial for head and neck cancer treatment as it lowers the risk of damage to salivary glands and the spinal cord.
Brachytherapy has been further categorized into low-dose brachytherapy and high-dose brachytherapy. These therapies do not necessarily involve hospitalization. Moreover, brachytherapy reduces the procedure time. These factors augment the growth of the brachytherapy segment. In Low Dose Rate (LDR), radioactive sources (seeds) are placed inside or adjacent to the tumors for several days of treatment. These sources emit low radiation levels for several weeks, and their strength of emitting radiation steadily reduces to zero. Furthermore, High Dose Rate (HDR) brachytherapy held the largest market share owing to the short procedure time, higher efficacy, and protection from radiation exposure. HDR brachytherapy is an outpatient procedure. However, sometimes, patients are admitted to hospitals for one to two days to undergo HDR treatments using the same applicator.
Based on application, the global market is segmented into external beam radiation therapy and internal beam radiation therapy.
The external beam radiation therapy (head and neck cancer) segment owns the highest market share and is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 6.6% during the forecast period. EBRT mainly treats prostate, lung, breast, head and neck, and colorectal cancers. EBRT can treat inoperable patients suffering from colorectal and head and neck cancers. In addition, EBRT technologies are non-invasive, further increasing their adoption in cancer treatment. The high-impact-rendering market drivers are the ability to treat inoperable patients, deliver conformal doses, and increase awareness about the importance of early diagnosis.
Internal beam radiotherapy mainly treats breast, penile, prostate, cervical, and gynecologic cancers. Brachytherapy is most commonly used for treating prostate cancer. It is an excellent alternative to glossectomy in case of penile cancer. Internal beam radiotherapy offers high-tech and precise drug delivery. This therapy is also used to treat eye and gallbladder cancers. In addition, internal beam radiotherapy is a cost-effective option. The internal beam radiation therapy market is anticipated to expand at a lucrative rate due to the high prevalence of cancer in the region.
The global radiation oncology market is bifurcated based on region into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa.
North America is the most significant global radiation oncology market shareholder and is anticipated to exhibit a CAGR of 7.2% during the forecast period. The North American radiation oncology market is expected to be driven by the surging incidence of cancer, the growing geriatric population, high healthcare expenditure, and supportive government funding. In addition, the presence of organizations such as the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), the globe's largest radiation oncology society with over 10,000 members, including radiation therapists, biologists, nurses, physicians, and other healthcare professionals, is anticipated to propel the market growth further. The society aims to improve patient care through training and education. It also promotes continuous cancer research and new approaches involved in radiation treatment and encourages the adoption of radiation oncology.
Additionally, favorable regulatory policies and increasing investments by pharmaceutical companies are expected to boost radiation oncology market growth further. Governments in North American countries are focusing on increasing the production of medical isotopes, creating opportunities for nuclear medicine market manufacturers to expand their distribution networks.
Europe is estimated to exhibit a CAGR of 7.4% over the forecast period. Europe is a major contributor to the revenue of the global radiation oncology market. The presence of sophisticated technology, a well-established research infrastructure, and a rise in government initiatives are prominent factors enhancing regional market growth. For instance, in June 2017, the European government spent GBP 250 million to develop two NHS centers providing proton beam therapy at The Christie Hospital, Manchester. Rising awareness among cancer patients about radiation oncology treatment is also expected to boost the market. For instance, Gustave Roussy—the premier European Cancer Center—provides an integrated approach to patient care, education, and research to benefit patients with the best quality treatment, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
In addition, increasing mergers, acquisitions, and collaborations between organizations are projected to drive the Europe radiation oncology market. For instance, the merger between the European Society for Radiotherapy & Oncology (ESTRO) and the Groupe Européen de Curiethérapie (GEC) has increased the impact of radiation oncology in Europe.
Asia-Pacific is projected to witness the highest market growth over the forecast period. Government initiatives to raise awareness about treatment options and diseases, growth in demand for sophisticated therapies, and an increase in the prevalence of cancer are some of the significant factors responsible for market growth in this region. In addition, introducing new technologies will likely propel market growth over the forecast period. In March 2019, BLK Super Specialty Hospital Delhi launched the first Radixact 9 TomoTherapy to treat cancer. In January 2019, Apollo Hospitals launched the first proton therapy center in southeast Asia. Major factors anticipated to drive the market include the widespread use of HDR brachytherapy, the development of new technologies, and a sizable target population.
In Latin America, cancer incidence and mortality rates due to the disease are expected to fuel the market growth. According to the Pan American Health Organization, cervical cancer is the most prominent cause of death in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is estimated that more than 56,000 women are detected with cervical cancer, and more than 28,000 die from this disease in this region every year. Hence, the IAEA Division of Human Health supports early cancer diagnosis and treatment using this region's diagnostic imaging and radiation therapy (EBRT and Brachytherapy). In addition, key market players such as ElektaAB and Varian Medical Systems, Inc. in this region are anticipated to drive the market.
In the Middle East and Africa, leading market players are partnering with healthcare providers to strengthen their presence and expand their product portfolios. For instance, in January 2019, at the Arab Health Exhibition and Congress in Dubai, Elekta highlighted the collaborations with hospitals and clinics in the Middle East and Africa region to provide better care and treatment to cancer patients. Similarly, in December 2018, cancer centers in Israel collaborated with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to provide advanced radiotherapy training to healthcare professionals. Furthermore, healthcare providers' rising adoption of brachytherapy to promote and provide better care and solutions for cancer is expected to drive the market.
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