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World Cancer Day (WCD) – a one-day campaign aimed to increase global awareness of cancer – is observed internationally on February 4 every year. Organized by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), this campaign offers a unique platform to rally the international community to save millions of preventable deaths each year by increasing awareness and education about cancer. The event aims to encourage governments, organizations and individuals across the world to take timely action against this deadly disease.

Regarded as the second leading cause of death in the world, cancer refers to the growth of abnormal cells in the body that divide uncontrollably and infiltrate and destroy normal body tissue. The condition can spread throughout your body resulting in tumors, damage to the immune system and other impairment that can be fatal. There are more than 100 types of cancer and the most common types include breast cancer, skin cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and lymphoma. Symptoms vary and depend on the type and severity of the condition and the specific body part which is affected. Common symptoms of this condition include fatigue, lump or area of thickening (that can be felt under the skin), weight changes (including unintended loss or gain), skin changes, changes in bowel or bladder habits, persistent cough or trouble breathing, difficulty swallowing and more.

Reports from suggest that about 9.6 million people die each year from cancer – which is more than HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. It is estimated that by the end of 2030, this number is expected to rise to 13 million. According to the American Cancer Society, about 87 percent of cancer diagnoses in the United States occur in people aged 50 years or older. There are many causes of cancer, the most common causes being changes (mutations) to the DNA within cells. Risk factors that directly increase the chances of this condition are age, family history, smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, excess body weight and physical inactivity.

Diagnosing cancer at its earliest stages often provides the best chance for a cure. Survival rates are improving for many types of cancer due to the improvements in early screening and timely treatment. Treatment options depend on the type of cancer (a person suffers from) and severity of infection (whether it’s acute or chronic) and generally include chemotherapy, radiation, and/or surgery. Around a third of all cancers are preventable through lifestyle changes, such as increasing physical activity and leading a less sedentary lifestyle. Effective treatment is possible only when clinical documentation is accurate and timely. Error-free documentation is also important for physician reimbursement and most physicians utilize medical billing outsourcing services for the same.

The primary goal of World Cancer Day (WCD) is to significantly reduce death and illness caused by cancer. The year 2019 marks the launch of a 3-year theme ‘I Am and I Will’ (from 2019 – 2021). The three-year theme is an empowering call-to-action urging personal commitment and represents the power of individual action taken now to impact the future. It is built to resonate, inspire change and mobilize action long after the day has passed.

The 2019 annual one-day campaign offers an exclusive chance to create a long-lasting impact by increasing public-facing exposure and engagement, more opportunities to build global awareness and take impact-driven action against this deadly disease. It is observed to encourage the common people to understand the need for early diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer.

Diagnosis of this condition involves a detailed physical examination (to feel for areas in your body for lumps that may indicate a tumor) and laboratory tests, such as urine and blood tests that may help the doctor identify abnormalities that can be caused by cancer. Imaging tests like computerized tomography (CT) scan, bone scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET) scan, ultrasound and X-ray enable the doctor to examine bones and internal organs in a non-invasive way. In addition, biopsy will be done wherein a sample of cells is collected for testing in the laboratory. Once cancer is diagnosed, physicians will work to determine the extent (stage) of the cancer. Treatment option for this condition will depend on the specific stage of cancer and these include – chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted drug therapy and surgery. The goal of surgery is to remove the cancer or as much of the cancer as possible.

The diagnosis, screening tests and other procedures performed by oncologists and radiologists must be carefully documented using the correct medical codes. Medical billing and coding services ensure this so that claim denials are avoided. ICD-10 codes used for different types of cancer include –

C00-C14 – Malignant neoplasms of lip, oral cavity and pharynx

  • C00 – Malignant neoplasm of lip
  • C01 – Malignant neoplasm of base of tongue
  • C02 – Malignant neoplasm of other and unspecified parts of tongue
  • C03 – Malignant neoplasm of gum
  • C04 – Malignant neoplasm of floor of mouth
  • C05 – Malignant neoplasm of palate
  • C06 – Malignant neoplasm of other and unspecified parts of mouth
  • C07 – Malignant neoplasm of parotid gland
  • C08 – Malignant neoplasm of other and unspecified major salivary glands
  • C09 – Malignant neoplasm of tonsil
  • C10 – Malignant neoplasm of oropharynx
  • C11 – Malignant neoplasm of nasopharynx
  • C12 – Malignant neoplasm of pyriform sinus
  • C13 – Malignant neoplasm of hypopharynx
  • C14 – Malignant neoplasm of other and ill-defined sites in the lip, oral cavity and pharynx

C15-C26 – Malignant neoplasms of digestive organs

  • C15 – Malignant neoplasm of esophagus
  • C16 – Malignant neoplasm of stomach
  • C17 – Malignant neoplasm of small intestine
  • C18 – Malignant neoplasm of colon
  • C19 – Malignant neoplasm of rectosigmoid junction
  • C20 – Malignant neoplasm of rectum
  • C21 – Malignant neoplasm of anus and anal canal
  • C22 – Malignant neoplasm of liver and intrahepatic bile ducts
  • C23 – Malignant neoplasm of gallbladder
  • C24 – Malignant neoplasm of other and unspecified parts of biliary tract
  • C25 – Malignant neoplasm of pancreas
  • C26 – Malignant neoplasm of other and ill-defined digestive organs

C30-C39 – Malignant neoplasms of respiratory and intrathoracic organs

  • C30 – Malignant neoplasm of nasal cavity and middle ear
  • C31 – Malignant neoplasm of accessory sinuses
  • C32 – Malignant neoplasm of larynx
  • C33 – Malignant neoplasm of trachea
  • C34 – Malignant neoplasm of bronchus and lung
  • C37 – Malignant neoplasm of thymus
  • C38 – Malignant neoplasm of heart, mediastinum and pleura
  • C39 – Malignant neoplasm of other and ill-defined sites in the respiratory system and intrathoracic organs

C43-C44 – Melanoma and other malignant neoplasms of skin

  • C43 – Malignant melanoma of skin
  • C44 – Other and unspecified malignant neoplasm…
  • C4A – Merkel cell carcinoma

C50 – Malignant neoplasms of breast
C60-C63 – Malignant neoplasms of male genital organs

  • C60 – Malignant neoplasm of penis
  • C61 – Malignant neoplasm of prostate
  • C62 – Malignant neoplasm of testis
  • C63 – Malignant neoplasm of other and unspecified male genital organs

C81-C96 – Malignant neoplasms of lymphoid, hematopoietic and related tissue

  • C81 – Hodgkin lymphoma
  • C82 – Follicular lymphoma
  • C83 – Non-follicular lymphoma
  • C84 – Mature T/NK-cell lymphomas
  • C85 – Other specified and unspecified types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • C86 -Other specified types of T/NK-cell lymphoma
  • C88 – Malignant immunoproliferative diseases and certain other B-cell lymphomas
  • C90 – Multiple myeloma and malignant plasma cell neoplasms
  • C91 – Lymphoid leukemia
  • C92 – Myeloid leukemia
  • C93 – Monocytic leukemia
  • C94 – Other leukemias of specified cell type
  • C95 – Leukemia of unspecified cell type
  • C96 – Other and unspecified malignant neoplasms of lymphoid, hematopoietic and related tissue

The WCD was first instituted by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) in 2008 by formally writing goals of the World Cancer Declaration. UICC (an organization dedicated to increasing global awareness about cancer) coordinates the WCD event and is supported in this effort by WHO and other international organizations. The UICC has set up a World Cancer Day website with ideas on how you can participate in this global event.

In honor of World Cancer Day (WCD), people, businesses, governments, and non-profit organizations work together to help the general public learn more about the different types of cancer, treatments, and preventative measures. A number of programs are organized throughout the year such as special television broadcasts or radio programs, online and newspaper advertisements, local fund-raising events such as walks, concerts and public information booths featuring information kits, fact sheets, booklets, posters, and other items that promote cancer awareness.

Partake in 2019 World Cancer Day on February 4! Spread information about the need for early diagnosis and screening to prevent different types of cancer.