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World Cancer Day (WCD) – a one-day global observance aimed to generate widespread awareness about cancer prevention, detection and treatment – is observed on February 4 every year. Organized by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), the campaign is a unique platform that empowers communities and individuals across the world to extend their valuable support and raise the profile of cancer in a positive and inspiring way. 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 and treatment options for these conditions may depend on the specific type of cancer a person suffers from and the rate of its advancement. Oncologists and other specialists treating different types of cancer can rely on outsourced medical billing companies to meet their billing and coding requirements.

As per the New Global Cancer Data (Globocan 2020) released by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), about 19.3 million cases and 10 million cancer deaths occurred in 2020. It is estimated that globally, 1 in 5 people will develop cancer during their lifetime and 1 in 11 women die from the disease. Reports suggest that more than 50 million people are living within five years of a past cancer diagnosis. The global observance is a perfect opportunity to rally the international community to end the injustice of preventable deaths from cancer. There are different factors that cause cancers – the most common one being changes (mutations) to the DNA within the cells. Other factors like age of the patient, family history of the disease, heavy alcohol consumption, habit of smoking, excess body weight and physical inactivity also could increase the potential risk associated with the condition.

The 2021 one-day global observance aims to unite people, communities and other countries to raise awareness and take action against cancer prevention. The type and severity of symptoms may depend on the location of the cancer cells and/or where the cancer cells have spread. Common symptoms include – weight changes (including unintended loss or gain), fatigue, changes in bowel or bladder habits, skin changes, persistent cough or trouble breathing, lump or area of thickening (that can be felt under the skin), and difficulty swallowing.

Reports suggest that over a third of cancers can be prevented and a further third are curable as long as they are detected early and treated effectively. The WCD campaign reminds us that with advances in research, early detection, treatment and prevention means there is much cause for hope. Diagnosing the condition at its earliest often provides the best chance for a cure. In fact, survival rates are improving for many types of cancer due to the improvements in early diagnosis and timely treatment.

Diagnosis of different types of cancer may begin with a detailed physical examination to check for lumps that may indicate a tumor. A detailed medical history review of symptoms and laboratory tests like urine and blood tests will be performed to identify abnormalities. Imaging tests like computerized tomography (CT) scan, bone scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET) scan, ultrasound and X-ray will also be performed. In severe cases, a biopsy will also be done wherein samples of cells will be collected and sent for detailed testing in the laboratory. Treatment modality for the condition can be determined only on the basis of the specific stage of cancer. Common treatment modalities include – radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy, hormone therapy and immunotherapy. Surgery to remove the cancerous cells (as much as possible) will be considered as a last option if any of these therapies does not yield in the desired results. Treatment modalities administered can be effective only when clinical documentation is accurate and timely. Error-free documentation is crucial for timely claim submissions and accurate physician reimbursement and most physicians depend on outsourced medical billing services for the same. ICD-10 diagnosis codes used for different types of cancers include –

  • C00-C14 – Malignant neoplasms of lip, oral cavity and pharynx
  • C15-C26 – Malignant neoplasms of digestive organs
  • C30-C39 – Malignant neoplasms of respiratory and intrathoracic organs
  • C40-C41 – Malignant neoplasms of bone and articular cartilage
  • C43-C44 – Melanoma and other malignant neoplasms of skin
  • C45-C49 – Malignant neoplasms of mesothelial and soft tissue
  • C50 – Malignant neoplasms of breast
  • C51-C58 – Malignant neoplasms of female genital organs
  • C60-C63 – Malignant neoplasms of male genital organs
  • C64-C68 – Malignant neoplasms of urinary tract
  • C69-C72 – Malignant neoplasms of eye, brain and other parts of central nervous system
  • C73-C75 – Malignant neoplasms of thyroid and other endocrine glands
  • C76-C80 – Malignant neoplasms of ill-defined, other secondary and unspecified sites
  • C7A – Malignant neuroendocrine tumors
  • C7B – Secondary neuroendocrine tumors
  • C81-C96 – Malignant neoplasms of lymphoid, hematopoietic and related tissue

The campaign theme for World Cancer Day 2021 is – ‘I Am and I Will’. The three year theme (starting from 2019-2021) is a call to action urging for a personal commitment from the side of individuals to reduce the impact of cancer for themselves and the people they love. It shows us that individual actions can have an impact on everyone around us, within our neighborhoods, communities and cities.

The history of WCD observance begins with the establishment of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) in 1933. The main goal of UICC was to share knowledge about cancer on a global basis. Over these years, the organization has widened all its activities to other areas related to cancer research and prevention. The idea for WCD started at the first “World Summit against Cancer” held in Paris, France in 2000. As part of the summit, representatives from governmental agencies and cancer organizations around the world signed the “Charter of Paris against Cancer Agreement”. The charter outlined ten different articles that summarize how the global community is committed to improving the quality of life of cancer patients and seeking an end to cancer itself. The 10th article of this charter established the 4th of February as World Cancer Day.

People, businesses, non-profit health organizations and governmental agencies come together to help the general public learn more about the different types of cancer, how to watch for the symptoms, treatment and preventive measures. As part of the campaign, local fund-raising events such as walks, concerts and public information booths (featuring information fact sheets/booklets/posters), newspaper advertisements, special television/radio broadcasts online will be arranged to promote cancer awareness. People can also spread the word about this campaign via social media platforms and donating funds to cancer research programs. Many cities also honor the occasion by lighting up famous landmarks and sites in the WCD official colors, orange and blue.

Get Involved in WCD campaign on February 4, 2021. Use this campaign to unite people, communities and entire countries to raise awareness and take action against different types of cancer.