London: Lung Cancer Awareness Month is intended to raise awareness of what is the world’s deadliest cancer, with the International Agency for Research on Cancer estimating three million people will die from the disease globally by 2040. Therefore, early detection of lung cancer using biopsy devices is critical to improving recovery rates, says GlobalData.
Brian Hicks, Senior Analyst, GlobalData, commented, “Some of the main risk factors for lung cancer include tobacco smoking and exposure to a variety of air pollution. A trend of reduced smoking being witnessed globally will help in lessening the incidence of lung cancer in the future, but increased urbanisation and worsening air pollution will hamper some of this progress.”
Patients suspected of lung cancer often undergo several tests, including imaging tests such as X-rays and CT scans. However, in most cases, the only definitive way to diagnose and stage lung cancers is through biopsies, where small tissue samples are removed for analysis.
Hicks explained, “Two common approaches when performing lung biopsies are bronchoscopy and needle biopsy. The former is an example of an endoscope, where a thin flexible tube is passed through the throat and down the lungs to capture images and take tissue samples internally. The latter uses a thin rigid needle that is inserted through the chest wall under the visual guidance of X-ray or CT imaging to take samples of any tissues suspected of containing cancerous cells.”
As both lung biopsy methods have been instrumental in improving the diagnosis of lung cancer, they are expected to see an increased use globally over time. According to GlobalData, the global flexible bronchoscopes market has grown by 7 per cent between 2015 and 2022 and is projected to continue to grow at a similar rate until the end of the decade. While other indications such as acute and chronic respiratory diseases contribute to this growth, lung cancer is still an important indication for bronchoscopies to be performed, along with its subsequent tissue biopsies.
Needle biopsies that use biopsy guns have also historically enjoyed steady market growth, as the number of new cases of lung cancer has risen and these devices provide some advantages over their bronchoscopy counterpart.
Hicks concluded, “Some of the advantages of needle biopsies include the speed of obtaining a tissue sample, convenience and relative ease of device use, less scope for cross-contamination compared to bronchoscopes, and high diagnostic accuracies. Not to mention that needle biopsies are often the method of choice when lung nodules and other suspected cancerous cells are unreachable by bronchoscopy.”