Prostate Cancer Market: $2 Billion and Growing
Although prostate problems have plagued men for many years, the growing elderly population is now driving an unprecedented increase in caseloads and a corresponding need for improved treatments. One of the primary concerns is the rise in prostate cancer diagnoses. With more than two million American men currently living with prostate cancer and more than 200,000 new cases diagnosed each year, the market for diagnostic and therapeutic products to address this disease is substantial; more than $2 billion in the US in 2007.
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Recent reports questioning the benefits of early prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment have raised an industry-wide debate that has been fueled by the limitations of prostate-specific antigen tests, currently the standard of care for early prostate cancer detection. While the industry searches to improve the use of PSA tests, urologists are asking, "are we over treating our patients?" That question was repeatedly voiced in a number of forums at the American Urological Association's 2010 Annual Meeting. As for a definitive answer to the question, it is a somewhat difficult task to get individual physicians to admit they are personally over treating patients; however, there is definitely a consensus-and a concern-that more patients than necessary are receiving treatments that put them at risk of serious side effects.
Urinary incontinence is a growing health problem with increasing social and economic significance--the direct and indirect costs of treating it total almost $20 billion in the US alone. Device companies are providing a variety of treatment options for patients with UI, including a growing number of increasingly less invasive surgical options.
Directed energy device-based medical therapies have greatly influenced the way physicians deliver care in a number of medical specialties. One of the most dramatic areas of change has been in the management of benign prostatic hyperplasia, commonly referred to as an enlarged prostate. DE treatments in this area have become so popular there has been a noticeable decline in once standard surgical therapies since the late 1990s as patients have migrated to these less-invasive alternatives. This expansion in BPH DE-based therapies is being driven not only by a shift toward less-invasive treatment options, but also by the rising number of patients susceptible to prostate ailments.