CT images used in 97% of U.S. radiation therapy treatments

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While the number of radiation therapy or related visits continues at a steady pace, the utilization of diagnostic imaging devices in providing treatments has clearly increased in the United States, according to a recent study published by IMV Medical Information Division.

In 2007, patients made an estimated 24.5 million radiation therapy or related visits to 2,110 U.S. radiation oncology sites. Compared with 2006, the report stated that this represents less than a 5 percent increase in total visits, from 23.2 million. The top three cancer site types include prostate, breast and lung cancer, which account for 21 percent, 20 percent and 13 percent, respectively, of all cancer site types treated using radiation therapy.

More than half of the radiation oncology sites provide treatments using image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT), which is up from 15 percent of the sites in 2004 using either a dedicated IGRT imaging device or an electronic portal imaging, according to Lorna Young, senior director of market research at IMV.

Additional highlights from the report include:

  • Nearly all (97 percent) of the radiation therapy treatment plans use CT images; 11 percent use MRI; and 11 percent use PET images;
  • CT simulators comprised more than 90 percent of the simulators installed in 2007;
  • IMRT has been adopted by 87 percent of the radiation oncology sites; and
  • Sites having budgets of more than $1.5 million have increased from 15 percent of 2003 capital budgets to 32 percent of 2008 budgets.