Lung cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer and the leading cause of death globally. In an effort to improve the outcomes for lung cancer patients in the United States and across the world – the month of November is observed as “National Lung Cancer Awareness Month”. The 2020 campaign aims to raise awareness about the far-reaching impact of the disease and challenge the stigma associated with lung cancer, thereby improving the outcomes for patients this November and beyond. According to reports from the American Cancer Society (2020 statistics) – about 228,820 new cases of lung cancer (116,300 in men and 112,520 in women) occur in the United States. It is estimated that about 135,720 deaths occur from lung cancer (72,500 in men and 63,220 in women). This type of cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women, making up almost 25% of all cancer deaths. In most cases, the condition commonly occurs in older people and most people diagnosed are 65 years or older. The average age of diagnosis is 70 years. People who have the habit of smoking have the greatest risk of lung cancer, though it can also occur in people who have never smoked. Treatment modalities for this condition depend on the type, severity and stages of cancer and may also relate to other additional factors like – overall health of the patient and patient preferences. Oncologists or other providers should have up-to-date knowledge about the latest guidelines or practices for medical billing and coding. For accurate clinical documentation of this lung disorder, physicians can depend on the services of professional medical billing outsourcing companies.
Generally, smoking or secondhand exposure to smoke is the number one cause of lung cancer. However, the condition also occurs in people who have never smoked and in those who never had prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke. In such cases, there may not be any clear cause of lung cancer. No specific signs or symptoms are seen in its earliest stages. The symptoms typically occur when the disease reaches an advanced stage and include – a cough (that doesn’t go away), shortness of breath, coughing up blood (even a small amount), losing significant amount of weight without weight loss efforts, bone pain, and chest pain.
The 2020 month-long campaign aims to improve the outcomes for every person affected. The campaign aims to challenge the stigma associated with lung cancer and highlight the perspectives of patients. The basic intention is to encourage people to seek medical advice sooner, to encourage early diagnosis and thereby ensuring the best possible chances of treating the disease effectively. Diagnosis of the condition may begin with a comprehensive evaluation of the symptoms through imaging tests like computed tomography (CT) scan, chest X-rays, bronchoscopy, sputum cytology and fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy of the lung. These tests help to identify the cancerous cells in the early stages, to rule out other conditions and begin treatment early in order to reduce the chances of complications. 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.
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 to people in the age group of 55 to 77 years, who are either current smokers or have quit smoking in the previous 15 years, who are asymptomatic, 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. The coverage includes a visit for counseling and shared decision-making on the benefits and risks of cancer screening. Correct medical billing and coding is essential on the part of oncologists or medical coding companies to ensure proper reimbursement. ICD-10 diagnosis codes for lung cancer include –
- C34 Malignant neoplasm of bronchus and lung
- C34.0 Malignant neoplasm of main bronchus
- C34.1 Malignant neoplasm of upper lobe, bronchus or lung
- C34.2 Malignant neoplasm of middle lobe, bronchus or lung
- C34.3 Malignant neoplasm of lower lobe, bronchus or lung
- C34.8 Malignant neoplasm of overlapping sites of bronchus and lung
- C34.9 Malignant neoplasm of unspecified part of bronchus or lung
The observance initially began as a one-day program “Lung Cancer Awareness Day” in the year 1995. As the lung cancer community grew, the awareness activities increased, and the day matured into a full month-long campaign. In 2003, Congress introduced a resolution to officially recognize observance in the month of November. Within a span of 25 years, the reach of the campaign widened (both on national and international levels) with people around the world joining together to generate awareness about the complications of this lung disorder.
The observance encourages people to make significant lifestyle changes like stopping the habit of smoking, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in regular physical exercise. Healthy lifestyle habits coupled with regular exercise help the lungs to expand more and pump blood around the body more effectively. As part of the campaign, a number of activities are organized across the country throughout the month. This includes donation towards lung cancer research, free screening programs, arranging virtual meetups of lung cancer patients and their families, and sharing lung cancer stories. Lung cancer survivors can share their stories about their survival journey and post via social media platforms under the hashtag #LivingWithLungCancer story. You can wear a pearl or white ribbon to help raise awareness about the observance. You can share a photo “wearing of the white” for Lung Cancer Awareness Month on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and use the hashtags #lcam #livingwithlungcancer #lungcancerresearch. 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.
Take part in Lung Cancer Awareness Month Campaign this November and join the fight against this deadly disease.