March is officially observed as “National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month” each year in the United States. The 2018 campaign aims to raise awareness about colorectal cancer (CRC), including the need for early detection, screening and prevention. Colorectal cancer (colon cancer) is any cancer that affects the colon and the rectum, which is the final part of the digestive tract. Most cases of colon cancers develop as “polyps”, which are abnormal growths inside the inner lining of the colon or rectum, which may later become cancerous if not removed. Polyps may be small and produce few, if any, symptoms. Not all types of polyps become cancerous, however some types of polyps can change into cancer over time (usually many years). The chance of a polyp changing into cancer depends on its specific type. Oncologists play a crucial role in educating people about the importance of early detection of symptoms and the need to undergo regular screening. Regular screening tests helps in identifying the growth of small polyps and removing them before they become cancerous. Treatment options for CRC include – chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery. The treatment will again depend on several prominent factors including the size, location and stage of cancer, whether or not it is recurrent and the current health status of the patient. With appropriate and timely treatment, people can reverse the serious complications caused by CRC. For accurate clinical documentation of this condition, physicians can benefit from the services of medical billing outsourcing companies.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women in the United States. Reports from the American Cancer Society suggest that about 140,250 (97,220 cases of colon cancer and 43,030 cases of rectal cancer combined) Americans will be diagnosed with this disease and nearly 50,630 will die from the same in 2018. The lifetime risk of developing this condition is – about 1 in 22 (4.49%) for men and 1 in 24 (4.15%) for women. The risk is slightly lower in women than in men.
In most cases, the exact causes of colon cancer are not clear. The potential risk factors associated with this disease include family history or genetic factors, age, lifestyle related factors such as smoking, diet, physical inactivity, obesity or alcohol use. The common signs and symptoms include – unexpected weight loss, abnormal bowel habits, cramping or stomach discomfort, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and a feeling of weakness or fatigue. The nature and intensity of symptoms may vary from one person to another.
CRC is a treatable disease that often goes undetected due to lack of regular screening. Physicians may recommend different screening tests such as colonoscopy, CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy), sigmoidoscopy, fecal immunochemical test (FIT) and stool DNA test that will help detect the disease early. Oncologists providing specialized treatment to CRC patients are reimbursed for their services. The diagnosis, screening tests and other procedures must be carefully documented using appropriate medical codes. Medical billing and coding services offered by experienced providers can assist physicians in using the right ICD-10 codes for their medical billing process –
- Z12.11 is the code designating encounter for screening for malignant neoplasm of colon
March was officially designated as “National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month” in 2000 (by the then President Clinton) with an objective to encourage Americans to join the battle against CRC. Since 2000, the event has grown to become a true rallying point for the colon cancer community. As part of the event, every year thousands of patients, survivors, caregivers and advocates throughout the community join together to spread colon cancer awareness by wearing blue, holding fundraising and educational events, talking to friends and family about early and regular screening. As part of the campaign, “Dress in Blue Day” was held this year on March 2 when individuals, companies and neighborhood groups celebrated the occasion by wearing Blue and encouraging their friends, family and colleagues to do the same.
Join “Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month” campaign in March. Make an effort to generate widespread awareness about this condition and educate people about the importance of early detection and screening.