The global breast imaging market is driven by rising cases of breast cancer, especially among women, and the urgency to develop advanced technology for early detection and timely treatment. Cancer was the second leading cause of death in the World, in 2018, as per WHO report, with 9.6 million deaths in the year. And breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women, with 1 out of 39 breast cancer patients (women) dying due to the disease. Though both, men and women, are prone to breast cancer, women are more threatened by breast cancer, resulting in a short life span. Moreover, the inability of early detection is the prime cause of death in women suffering from breast cancer. Lack of awareness further complicates and hinders the treatment process.
Breast Cancer: Signs and Symptoms
Breast cancer refers to cancer that is formed in the cells of the breast. Certain breast cells may grow abnormally, outpacing the growth speed of healthy cells, leading to the formation of lump or breast cancer. A patient has a higher chance of breast cancer if her/his family history has cases of breast or any other cancer. Increasing age, radiation exposure, obesity, and alcohol consumption are some factors that increase the chances of breast cancer. Moreover, an unhealthy menstrual cycle and life, including the early start of cycles, or late menopause, also increase chances of breast cancer. Post skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in women, especially in the United States. Further, after lung cancer, breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women. As per the WHO report, the chances of death for a woman from breast cancer is 2.6%. However, it has been observed by the American Cancer Society that the death rate has been increasing by 1.3% annually, between 2013 to 2017. Besides, the chances of death from breast cancer among women aged 50 and above are higher. Growing breast cancer patients accompanied by a surging death rate has emphasized the need for early detection and treatment.
The common early symptoms of breast cancer are the formation of a new lump in the breast or underarm areas and/or thickening or swelling of breast parts. Breast cancer patients also complained about pain in the nipple area and irritation and dimpling of breast skin. Pulling in of nipple, blood discharge from the nipple, and redness or flaky skin in the nipple area are other symptoms of breast cancer. Patients with a family history of breast cancer or any other type of cancer should be more cautious as they are more prone to breast cancer. Inherited mutated genes may be the cause of cancer in a person with strong cancer family history. Post-menopausal hormone therapy also increases the likelihood of breast cancer in older women.
A healthy lifestyle helps significantly in the prevention of breast cancer. Daily exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, a balanced diet consumption, and moderate consumption of alcohol notably affect body strength and significantly reduces the chances of breast cancer. Moreover, increased awareness regarding one’s body and regular doctor check-up helps in early detection and timely treatment of breast cancer. Self-examination for the formation of a lump in the breast and armpit area, especially the nipple area, along with breast cancer screening facilitates early location and better treatment. Further, limiting postmenopausal hormone therapy has been clinically proven to decrease breast cancer chances.
Advance Technology of Breast Imaging Accelerates Efficiency and Results, Resulting in Early Detection, if Present, and Better Treatment
Breast imaging technology plays a crucial role in the treatment of breast cancer. Efficient technology enables early detection and timely treatment, hence increasing the chances of survival. The common techniques used to scan for the presence of breast cancer are EIT, CEM, PEM, CESSM, and Optical Imaging Test. Molecular breast imaging (MBI), or scintimammography, involves the injection of chemicals, into blood, and detection of cancer cells in the breast through specialized cameras. Also known as the Breast-specific Gamma Imaging (BSGI), MBI is a nuclear medicine imaging test, which is constrained with its method that exposes the human body to radiation. Positron Emission Mammography (PEM) is similar to PET Scan, in which sugar is attached to a radioactive particle, which is then injected into the body. Contrast-enhanced spectral mammography (CESM), involves the injection of iodine that enables x-ray machines to locate abnormal areas. CESM is less expensive than an MRI scan. The Optical Imaging Test involves reflecting light scan, through the tissues, to locate the abnormal cell growth. The Electronic Impedance Test (EIT), involves a scan of electronic conductivity. Cancer-causing cells conduct electricity that is different from normal cells, hence successfully locating cancer.
Since breast imaging technology plays a crucial role in the detection of breast cancer for timely treatment, companies in the healthcare industry are involved in rigorous research and development of technology that is more efficient and produces faster results. Candelis Inc., for instance, announced, in November 2019, the launch of its Advance Breast Imaging Workstation employing mammography and tomosynthesis image from Siemens, Planmed, Hologic, and others along with analysis with the help of systems developed by Hitachi, Siemens, GE, and iVu, making it superior over existing ImageGrid Platform.
Geographically the global breast imaging market is segmented into North America, South America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and the Asia Pacific region. The North American market is anticipated to dominate the market owing to greater cases of breast cancer, especially among the female population, in the region. As per the American Cancer Society Study, around 276,480 cases of invasive breast cancer and 48,530 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer would be expected to be diagnosed in the US women population. Also, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the US, surpassing the lung cancer death statistics. Further, advanced technology and state-of-art infrastructure in the region will drive the market.
The Asia Pacific region will also show noteworthy growth owing to the development of the healthcare sector. However, lack of awareness may constrain the market growth.
The coronavirus pandemic resulted in physical shutdown and travel restrictions, including traveling for health purposes. Moreover, overflowing hospitals with virus-infected patients discouraged people from diagnosis and treatment of other diseases/ problems, as they feared contact with the virus. Moreover, covid-19 infected breast cancer patients were severely prone to death. Hence, the market size for breast imaging technology shrinks with a fall in testing for breast cancer.