Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States among both men and women. November is observed as “National Lung Cancer Awareness Month” in the United States – the perfect time to accentuate the numbers and statistics associated with lung cancer. Sponsored by the Lung Cancer Alliance, the annual campaign helps bring awareness about this deadly disease and the efforts being done to combat the same. It aims to encourage people to take a few minutes to review what is known so far about lung cancer and possibly learn something new. According to the American Cancer Society’s 2018 estimates, there are about 234,030 new cases of lung cancer (121,680 in men and 112,350 in women). It is estimated that about 14 percent of new cases of cancers diagnosed in the US are related to the lungs. In most cases, people diagnosed with lung cancer are 65 or older, while a very small number of people diagnosed are younger than 45 years. However, the average age at the time of diagnosis is 70 years. Treatment plan for this condition is based on a number of factors like – overall health, type and stage of cancer and patient preferences. Oncologists or other specialists administering different treatment modalities should have up-to-date knowledge about the latest guidelines or practices for medical billing and coding. For correct clinical documentation of this lung disorder, physicians can benefit from the services of medical billing outsourcing companies.
Typically, lung cancer doesn’t cause any specific signs and symptoms in its earliest stages. Symptoms of this condition usually appear only when the disease reaches its advanced stages. Common signs and symptoms include – coughing up blood (even a small amount), losing body weight, headache, chest pain, shortness of breath and bone pain. However, in some cases, even if some symptoms do appear, many patients may mistake them for other problems such as infections, problems related to smoking and so on. This in turn may cause delay in diagnosis. Physicians may conduct a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation of the symptoms by conducting different screening tests such as computed tomography (CT) scan, chest X-rays, bronchoscopy, sputum cytology and fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy of the lung. These routine tests help to identify the disease in its early stages and begin treatment in order to reduce the chances of complications.
Medicare Part B offers coverage for lung cancer screening with Low Dose Computed Tomography (LDCT) once a year for all eligible patients. The LDCT annual coverage is offered for beneficiaries who are in the age group of 55 to 77 years of age, 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. Accurate medical coding on the medical claims is essential on the part of oncologists/medical coding companies to ensure accurate documentation and reimbursement. Correct diagnostic and procedural codes need to be reported on the claims to receive appropriate reimbursement. ICD-10 Codes for Lung Cancer include –
C34 – Malignant neoplasm of bronchus and lung
- C34.0 – Malignant neoplasm of main bronchus
- C34.00 – Malignant neoplasm of unspecified main bronchus
- C34.01 – Malignant neoplasm of right main bronchus
- C34.02 – Malignant neoplasm of left main bronchus
- C34.1 – Malignant neoplasm of upper lobe, bronchus or lung
- C34.10 – Malignant neoplasm of upper lobe, unspecified bronchus or lung
- C34.11 – Malignant neoplasm of upper lobe, right bronchus or lung
- C34.12 – Malignant neoplasm of upper lobe, left bronchus or lung
- C34.2 – Malignant neoplasm of middle lobe, bronchus or lung
- C34.3 – Malignant neoplasm of lower lobe, bronchus or lung
- C34.30 – Malignant neoplasm of lower lobe, unspecified bronchus or lung
- C34.31 – Malignant neoplasm of lower lobe, right bronchus or lung
- C34.32 – Malignant neoplasm of lower lobe, left bronchus or lung
- C34.8 – Malignant neoplasm of overlapping sites of bronchus and lung
- C34.80 – Malignant neoplasm of overlapping sites of unspecified bronchus and lung
- C34.81 – Malignant neoplasm of overlapping sites of right bronchus and lung
- C34.82 – Malignant neoplasm of overlapping sites of left bronchus and lung
- C34.9 – Malignant neoplasm of unspecified part of bronchus or lung
- C34.90 – Malignant neoplasm of unspecified part of unspecified bronchus or lung
- C34.91 – Malignant neoplasm of unspecified part of right bronchus or lung
- C34.92 – Malignant neoplasm of unspecified part of left bronchus or lung
The 2018 campaign is a unique platform to educate people about the need to undergo routine or early screening and diagnosis of lung cancer for better treatment and possible cure. Diagnosing this disease at an early stage may help to control it before it spreads to the lymph nodes or other areas of the body thereby promoting timely treatment.
Initially, the awareness event started off as a single-day program “Lung Cancer Awareness Day” in the year 1995. However, as the lung cancer community grew, the awareness activities increased, and the day matured into a full month-long campaign. Within these 23 years, the reach of the campaign widened (both on national and international levels) wherein people throughout the world joined together to support the lung cancer community and raise awareness about the complications of this disease.
The month-long event has succeeded in encouraging people to make significant lifestyle changes like quitting the habit of smoking, eating a healthy diet and engaging in regular physical exercise. This will help the lungs to expand more and pump blood around the body more effectively. Throughout the month of November, an array of activities like fundraising events, free screening programs, distributing posters/leaflets/factsheets, engaging with local media and advocacy groups, wearing White/Pearl color and sharing cancer survivor stories via several social media platforms (like Facebook and Twitter) will be organized to bring more attention towards the need for early diagnosis, routine screening and proper treatment for this deadly, debilitating disease. In addition, people can also help generate awareness and funds at the same time by purchasing a “Lung Cancer Awareness Ribbon” from Amazon through their Amazon Smile program which donates a percentage of every purchase to the Lung Cancer Foundation of America.
Celebrate “National Lung Cancer Awareness Month” in November. Get involved in our fight against this deadly disease.