March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in Canada, where colorectal cancer is second only to lung cancer as the leading cause of cancerous deaths. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the estimated annual number of deaths in Canada due to colon cancer is projected to grow by nearly 60%, from the current approximate 10,000 deaths to nearly 16,000 deaths by 2040, which highlights the importance of detecting this cancerous type at the early stages in order to arrange suitable treatments. Some of the main risk factors for colorectal cancer include diet, obesity, physical inactivity, smoking, heavy alcohol use and advanced age, many of which are growing trends in Canada.
The typical age to begin colorectal cancer screening is around age 50 years, at which point patients undergo either routine colonoscopy or stool tests, or a combination of the two. Historically, colonoscopy has been the predominant screening method in the US, while stool tests for occult blood via guaiac testing and faecal immunochemical testing have been preferred in Canada, Europe and Australia. In such cases, colonoscopy is occasionally performed as a confirmatory procedure following the stool sample analyses. Therefore, the colonoscope market has traditionally been focused within the US over most other countries.
According to GlobalData’s Medical Intelligence Center, the Canadian colonoscopes market is forecast to exceed $65m by 2030. On a global scale, however, this number balloons to $4.4bn, led by the US, which makes up more than 16% of the global market. This growth is primarily driven by the increasing number of colonoscopies being performed, whether as the primary screening method or as a follow-up colonoscopy to a positive stool test sample. Other indications also contribute to the use of colonoscopes, including colorectal cancer surveillance, lower gastrointestinal bleeding, anaemia, abdominal pain, constipation, chronic diarrhoea, and the assessment, treatment, and surveillance of inflammatory bowel disease.
The colonoscopes market leaders are mostly top Japanese medical device manufacturers, including Olympus, Fujifilm and Hoya (Pentax). Another key player within this market is Karl Storz, which also manufactures various other endoscopes. GlobalData forecasts this market to continue to be dominated by these companies until the end of the decade, at least. While the colonoscopes market is well established, R&D for improved designs and safety features will continue. This is due to the challenging nature of controlling for infection caused by reusing colonoscopes between different patients. The Danish company Ambu has announced that it is aiming to launch the world’s first single-use colonoscope by the end of the year, which will have a profound impact on the overall colonoscopes market. By not only eliminating the risk of cross-contamination but also potentially lowering the cost per procedure by using the single-use colonoscopes, more companies will likely focus on manufacturing their own single-use colonoscopes during this decade.