MRI, nuclear medicine and automated biopsy are making strides in the adjunctive breast imaging and automated biopsy equipment markets, taking some of the share from mammography in the early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer. Market research firm Frost & Sullivan estimates in a just-released report that total revenues in the industry were $22 million in 2002 and could reach $64.7 million by 2010.
The report also noted that "significant reimbursement issues for nuclear imaging, breast MRI and for emerging technologies -- such as laser tomography and clinical thermography -- are limiting uptake to some extent. The need to create a compelling case to be reimbursed is keeping many physicians from undertaking these procedures at all."
The study also advised vendors to "work toward conclusively demonstrating the effectiveness of adjunctive technologies to gain approval for improved reimbursement."
"Advocating for the establishment of secured reimbursement streams for adjunctive technologies must be viewed as an important part of the overall campaign to create growth opportunities in this market,' said Frost & Sullivan analyst Antonio Garcia.
Manufacturers also have to contend with the increasing closure of breast imaging facilities due to financial difficulties, as well as the widespread perception among clinicians that traditional mammography --perhaps combined with ultrasound for radiodense breasts -- is sufficient for the early detection of cancer.