The global medical radiation shielding market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.5% from 2023 to 2028, reaching $1.8 billion by the end of the forecast period, according to a new report by MarketsandMarkets.
The increasing use of nuclear medicine and radiation therapy for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases like cancer is driving the adoption of medical radiation shielding products. With cancer cases projected to rise from 19.3 million in 2020 to 30 million in 2040, the demand for radiotherapy is expected to surge. Currently, North America accounts for 50% of the global diagnostic radioisotopes market.
Medical radiation shielding includes products like shields, booths, doors, windows, sheets, and other barriers that protect from dangerous radiation exposure. MRI shielding products are projected to witness the highest growth rate among product types, fueled by the expansion of diagnostic imaging centers and increasing installation of radiology equipment.
By end user, hospitals, clinics, and ambulatory surgery centers dominate the market due to the rising cancer population. As cancer diagnoses and radiation therapy procedures increase, so does the need for medical radiation shielding in these facilities.
Geographically, North America is expected to see the highest growth rate due to surging cancer incidence and expanding use of radiation therapies for treatment. In the U.S. alone, around $183 billion was spent on cancer healthcare in 2015, expected to reach $246 billion by 2030.
However, the high cost of lead, a key ingredient in radiation shielding accessories, poses a challenge to the market. As lead is increasingly utilized in other industries like car batteries, its cost is projected to rise further. This necessitates the development of alternative, cost-effective shielding solutions.
The lack of healthcare infrastructure to support radiation treatments, especially in developing countries, also hampers adoption. Treatments like proton therapy currently only reach 1% of radiation therapy recipients worldwide.
Key players in the medical radiation shielding market include ESCO Technologies, Mirion Technologies, and Nelco Worldwide. Recent developments include ESCO partnering with IMRIS in 2022 to build an MRI facility at Boston Children’s Hospital and Mirion acquiring Sun Nuclear and Biodex Medical Systems in 2021 and 2020, respectively, to expand capabilities.
The rising healthcare expenditure across developing countries represents a major growth opportunity. Countries like India, China, Malaysia and Mexico are investing heavily in healthcare infrastructure and treatments, driving usage of technologies like radiation shielding. Medical tourism for affordable cancer care also boosts adoption in these markets.