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Oncology: Trends & Statistics of Cancer Treatments

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Oncology Industry Trends

The oncology industry involves the business of prevention, cure, control and palliative care of cancers. The oncology industry consists of establishments providing services and products for the .

Cancer is a group of diseases caused by uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in any part of the body. There are more than 120 types of cancers affecting humans. A majority of cancers are caused by changes in a cell's DNA by cancer causing agents (carcinogens). Globally cancer is one of the leading causes of mortality. In a recent year, deaths due to cancer were more than 8 million and the five-year cancer prevalent population exceeded 30 million.

Initially, surgery was the only treatment for cancer. Several advances have led to new approaches for cancer treatment including radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, hormonal therapy and stem cell therapy. In spite of these developments a treatment gap still exists for cancers.

Key Segments

The key segments of the oncology market based on treatment are:

Surgical oncology– Surgical excision involves partial or complete removal of cancerous tissue from a patient’s body. Surgery is used in preventing, diagnosing, staging, and treating cancers. Cancer surgery is performed by expert doctors at hospitals or specialized cancer centers. Different cancer surgery types include laser surgery, cryosurgery, electrosurgery, Mohs surgery, laparoscopic surgery and thoracoscopic surgery.

Radiation oncology – Radiation therapy (RT) uses high-energy particles or waves to destroy or damage cancer cells. It is used either by itself or along with other forms of treatment. RT is administered by radiation oncologists. Radiation may be delivered from outside the body as external-beam RT, or it may be delivered using radioactive material placed in the body near cancer cells as internal RT (brachytherapy).

Globally, the radiation oncology segment is worth more than $6 billion.

Anti-cancer drug therapy – Anti-cancer drug therapy is the most common cancer treatment especially for patients with advanced-stage cancer. Chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy are widely-used forms of drug therapy. Chemotherapy is a systemic treatment which destroys cancer cells along with normal body cells. Targeted therapy can differentiate normal body cells from tumor cells and will specially destroy tumor cells. Immunotherapy is treatment that uses body's own immune system to help fight cancer.

Globally, the anti-cancer drug segment is worth about $100 billion.

Major companies in the anti-cancer drug therapy segment are Roche, Novartis, Celgene, Johnson & Johnson and Bristol Myers Squibb.

Regional Market Shares

Major regional markets for oncology include North America, Europe and Asia.

North America is the largest oncology market accounting for more than 40% of the global total. Ther egion’s large patient pool, early diagnosis, high level of treatment access, favorable reimbursement policies and high adoption rate for premium-priced immunotherapies makes this region the largest regional market.

The oncology market in Europe is significant too. In the top five European markets (UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy) almost 15% of drug spending is exclusively for anti-cancer drugs. Increasing cancer prevalence, high R&D investments and the launch of new cancer drugs are some of the key factors impacting growth in the European oncology market.

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