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Radiation Therapy Soaring, Along With Imaging

October 29, 2010
Written by: , Filed in: Diagnostic Imaging
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Radiation therapy patients increased 7 percent a year from 2007 to 2009—from slightly more than 954,000 patients to an estimated 1.1 million patients, according to a study just published by IMV Medical Information Division, a marketing research and consulting firm in Des Plaines, Illinois.

“Digital imaging has become integrated into treatment planning, simulation, and to guide tumor treatment real time,” said Lorna Young, the company’s senior director for market research, as quoted in a company news release.

“Regarding treatment planning, nearly all (98 percent) of the radiation therapy treatment plans use CT images, 12 percent use MRI, and 8 percent use PET images. Concurrently, the use of CT for simulation has displaced X-ray simulators, with two thirds of the current simulator installed base being CT simulators, whereas X-ray simulators comprised two thirds of the simulator installed base in 2003.

“Relative to image guidance, over two thirds of the radiation therapy sites provide treatments using image-guided radiotherapy, up from 15 percent of the sites in 2004, using either a dedicated IGRT system or electronic portal imaging, ultrasound, X-ray, or CT as their primary guidance device.”

The report, based on IMV’s 2010-2011 Radiation Therapy Census Database, found that there were 2,170 radiation therapy locations in the United States. The type of cancer most frequently treated with radiation therapy was breast cancer, which accounted for 24 percent of cases. Prostate cancer was next at 20 percent, followed by lung cancer at 12 percent.

More than a third of the radiation therapy sites were planning to buy external-beam therapy units, either as replacements or additional units, over the next three years, the report said. It also found that 89 percent of the sites had “record and verify” or oncology information systems—or both—installed. Two thirds of the oncology information systems were interfaced with an electronic medical records system, and 85 percent had digital images available on the system.

Related seminar: National Diagnostic Imaging Symposium

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