Lung Cancer Awareness Month“National Lung Cancer Awareness Month” is observed during the month of November in the United States. Sponsored by the Lung Cancer Alliance, this annual campaign aims to generate widespread awareness about lung cancer, including the importance of early detection and prevention. Lung cancer (both small cell and non-small cell) is the second most common cancer in both men and women. According to reports from the American Cancer Society (2015 statistics), there are about 221,200 new cases of lung cancer (115,610 in men and 105,590 in women). Generally, smoking or exposure to second-hand smoking is one of the leading causes of this disease.

Medicare (Part B) provides coverage for lung cancer screening with low dose computed tomography (LDCT) for eligible patients once per year. Medicare will pay for annual cancer screening with LDCT for beneficiaries who are 55 to 77 years of age and who are either current smokers or have quit smoking in the previous 15 years, who have a 30 pack-year history of tobacco smoking (an average of one pack a day for 30 years), and who have a written order from a physician or qualified non-physician practitioner that meets certain requirements. In addition, the coverage includes a visit for counseling and shared decision-making on the benefits and risks of cancer screening. Proper medical coding on the medical claims is important on the part of oncologists/medical coding companies to ensure accurate documentation and correct reimbursement.

The national lung cancer awareness event was first initiated as Lung Cancer Awareness Day way back in 1995, but as the lung cancer community and movement grew, the awareness activities increased and grew into a month long campaign. It is estimated that this condition is responsible for nearly 30 percent of all cancer deaths each year – more than breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer combined.

The goal of this month-long campaign is to help people who are at high risk for lung cancer to receive a diagnosis and treatment at an early stage of the disease when it is easier to treat and possibly cure. Recent research found that there is a 20 percent reduction in cancer deaths when lung cancer screening with low dose CT scan is performed instead of a standard chest X-ray. The major benefit of diagnosing this disease as early as possible is to control it before it spreads to lymph nodes or other areas of the body; premature detection allows for early treatment.

The 2015 campaign motivates people to make significant lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy body weight. This in turn will expand the lungs and allow them to pump blood round the body more effectively.

The event acts as a strong platform for people to learn about potential risk factors such as smoking, passive smoking and exposure to certain chemicals that should be eliminated or reduced. As part of this annual campaign, various organizations and individuals nationwide, host a series of events focused on education, fundraising and remembrance, in order to bring more attention towards screening and treatment of this disease.

Join “National Lung Cancer Awareness Month” celebration. This event will encourage heavy smokers / people who have suffered repeated exposures to workplace carcinogens to participate or undertake in regular lung cancer screening programs and ensure improved life expectancy.