September is observed as National Ovarian Cancer Awareness month in the United States. The campaign aims to generate widespread awareness about ovarian cancer – one of the most common cancers among women in the United States. Ovarian cancer refers to any cancerous growth that appears in the ovary (reproductive glands). It occurs when abnormal cells in the ovary begin to multiply out of control and form a tumor. Most ovarian cancers develop initially in the epithelium, or outer lining of the ovary and often come with symptoms such as abdominal bloating and pain, weight loss, abnormal fullness after eating, frequent urination, difficulty eating, discomfort in the pelvis area and changes in bowel habits, such as constipation. If left untreated, this tumor can spread to other parts of the body. With appropriate and timely treatment, the serious complications caused by ovarian cancers can be reversed. It is important for physicians to instruct their medical coding outsourcing service providers or clinical staff to be specific and document their diagnosis and medical procedures with accurate medical codes.

Reports suggest that about 22,000 women in the US will receive a diagnosis of ovarian cancer yearly and around 14,000 are expected to die from this disease. The exact cause of ovarian cancer is not clear; however, physicians have identified certain factors that can increase the risk of the disease which include – age, family history, reproductive history, the use of certain fertility drugs or hormone therapies, endometriosis and obesity.

Ovarian cancer is hard to detect in the early stages as most signs and symptoms do not appear until the disease has progressed fully. Early and timely diagnosis helps in better treatment. It is estimated that early diagnosis of ovarian cancer (in the primary stages) leads to 94 percent chance of survival for at least 5 years. A woman’s lifetime risk for developing ovarian cancer is 1 in 75.

There is no specific routine diagnostic screening test available for detecting ovarian cancer. Physicians may recommend a series of imaging tests/procedures such as transvaginal ultrasound (TVUS), abdominal and pelvic CT scan, blood tests, laparoscopy, MRI scan, colonoscopy and abdominal fluid aspiration to determine the size, shape and structure of your ovaries. In addition, biopsy will be performed to remove the tumor or part of the tumor to examine for the presence of cancer cells. The type of treatment for this cancer may depend on how far the cancer has spread. Treatment methods include – chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy, targeted therapy and surgery to stage the cancer and remove the tumor. Radiology medical coding, which is a very important process when it comes to oncology medical billing, involves assigning the right medical codes to imaging studies such as x-rays, MRIs and other procedures.

ICD-10 Codes to Indicate Diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer

  • C56 – Malignant neoplasm of ovary
  • C56.1 – Malignant neoplasm of right ovary
  • C56.2 – Malignant neoplasm of left ovary
  • C56.9 – Malignant neoplasm of unspecified ovary
  • C79.6 – Secondary malignant neoplasm of ovary
  • C79.60 – Secondary malignant neoplasm of unspecified ovary
  • C79.61 – Secondary malignant neoplasm of right ovary
  • C79.62 – Secondary malignant neoplasm of left ovary
  • Z80.41 – Family history of malignant neoplasm of ovary
  • Z15.02 – Genetic susceptibility to malignant neoplasm of ovary

For accurate and timely medical billing and claims submission, radiology practices providing treatment for ovarian cancer can outsource their medical tasks to an experienced medical billing company that offers the services of AAPC-certified coding specialists.

The general outlook for ovarian cancer varies, depending on its stage and type. Generally, cancer in the ovaries is rare among young women. As per estimates from the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance, the median age of a diagnosis is 63 years. The risk of developing this condition could be higher if you have a family history of ovarian cancer or if you carry certain genetic mutations. Therefore, it is important to report any unusual symptoms to your physician immediately.

When the symptoms are persistent and do not resolve with normal interventions (such as physical exercise, diet changes, body rest, laxatives) it is imperative for a woman to visit her physician. In most cases, ovarian cancer symptoms are described as vague and silent and occur in advanced stages when tumor growth creates pressure on the bladder and rectum, and fluid begins to form. It is estimated that about 19 percent of ovarian cancer is diagnosed in its early stages. The sooner you identify the symptoms (in its early stages); the better will be its further treatment and your chances of survival.