National Cervical Cancer AwarenessTo generate widespread public awareness about cervical cancer, education and research, the month of January is observed as “National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month” in the United States each year. At one point of time, cervical cancer was regarded as one of the most common causes of cancer deaths among American women. However, due to advancements in cancer screenings and research over the past years the rate of women dying from this type of cancer has decreased considerably. Reports from the American Cancer Society suggest that approximately 13,240 new cases of invasive cervical cancer are diagnosed each year and about 4,170 women die from this condition. Identifying the risk factors and undergoing early screening procedures can actually prevent cancer in its early stages, when the disease is most curable. Besides providing appropriate treatment, healthcare providers need to ensure that medical coding for this condition is appropriately done on the medical claims. Proper coding on the medical claims is crucial for oncologists/medical coding companies to ensure accurate documentation and correct reimbursement.

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix – the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a very common infection (which spreads through sexual activity) that causes almost all cases of this cancer. The campaign offers a great platform for women to learn about HPV (human papillomavirus). About 79 million Americans currently have HPV, but many people with HPV don’t know they are infected. Generally, HPV infections are asymptomatic and resolve on their own but carry the risk of leading to cervical cancer in the end. HPV can be prevented by the HPV vaccine.

The prominent symptoms of cervical cancer include – painful intercourse, bleeding following intercourse, foul-smelling discharge and pain in the pelvic region. Several diagnostic imaging tests such as X-rays, PET scans and MRIs can help determine the stage of cancer.

Cervical Cancer AwarenessThe 2018 month-long campaign is the perfect platform to encourage women about the need to receive or undergo early cancer diagnosis and screenings for better treatment and possible cure. According to current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), women aged 21-65 years need to undergo cervical cancer screening every 3 years. The Pap smear test and HPV DNA test are the commonly used cervical cancer screening methods that will help detect the disease early.

Oncologists can advise patients about the different treatment modalities available for this condition and this again may vary and depend on the type and severity of symptoms. Oncologists are reimbursed for the services they provide to the patients. The diagnosis, screening tests and other procedures should be carefully documented using the correct medical codes. Medical billing and coding services provided by experienced companies can assist physicians in using the right ICD-10 codes for their medical billing process –

  • Z12.4 – Encounter for screening for malignant neoplasm of cervix
  • Z12.9 – Encounter for screening for malignant neoplasm, site unspecified

The awareness campaign works to educate people to spread the word about important steps women can take to stay healthy. A variety of events including health fairs, awareness walks/runs, and education and fundraising events are conducted as part of this campaign.

Join “Cervical Cancer Awareness Month” campaign. Make a commitment to spread awareness about this condition and educate women about early detection which could improve the future chances of survival.