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September is officially observed as “National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month (NPCA)” in the United States. The 2018 campaign aims to generate widespread awareness about prostate cancer (PC), including the need for early detection, screening and prevention. Prostate cancer is the second most common non-skin cancers and the second leading cause of death in American men. This type of cancer affects the prostate gland (a small walnut shaped gland) that produces seminal fluid that nourishes sperm. Generally, most types of cancer grow slowly and are initially confined to the prostate gland, where it may not cause any serious harm. However, there are some other types that are aggressive and can spread quickly. Early detection of prostate cancer (when it’s still confined to the prostate gland) has a better chance of successful treatment. The American Cancer Society recommends men to undergo prostate cancer screening in their early 50s or sooner. Regular and standard screening tests help in early detection of the specific symptoms and better disease management. Treatment options for PC include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, freezing prostate tissue and surgery to remove the prostate gland. The choice of treatment options will again depend on several factors such as how fast your cancer is growing, how much it has spread and the potential benefits and side effects of the treatment. Correct and timely treatment can reverse the serious complications caused by PC. For accurate clinical documentation and billing for this condition, physicians can benefit from the services of medical billing outsourcing companies.

National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

Prostate cancer is largely found in older men aged 65 years or older. Recent reports suggests that PC affects about 165,000 men each year with about 30,000 dying of the disease – making it second only to lung cancer as the deadliest cancer in men. The lifetime risk of developing this condition is about 1 in 9 men in the US.

In most cases, the exact causes of prostate cancer (PC) are not known. Urologists propose that PC begins when some cells in the prostate gland become abnormal, causing them to grow and divide more rapidly than normal cells do. The abnormal cells continue living, (when other cells would die) and the accumulating abnormal cells form a tumor that can grow to invade the nearby tissue. The potential risk factors associated with this condition include – age, race, family history and obesity. The common signs and symptoms include – trouble urinating, erectile dysfunction, bone pain, blood in semen, decreased force in the stream of urine and discomfort in the pelvic area.

The National Cancer Institute recommends that men above 50 years with a family history of this disease should discuss with their physician regarding the need for including prostate cancer screening tests as part of their annual checkup. Even though there is no single, definitive test for identifying this disease, urologists recommend different types of screening tests such as digital rectal exam (DRE), prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, cystoscopy or bladder scope test to confirm whether this condition is prevalent or not.

Medicare offers annual coverage for preventive cancer screening PSA test (prostate specific antigen) test and DRE (digital rectal exam) once in every 12 months for all men aged 50 years and above. Urologists providing specialized treatment to prostate cancer patients are reimbursed for their services. The diagnosis, screening tests and other procedures must be carefully documented using the appropriate medical codes. Medical billing and coding services offered by experienced providers can help physicians use the correct codes for their medical billing purposes.

For medical billing purposes, physicians must use the following medical codes –

ICD-10 Code

  • Z12.5 – Encounter for screening for malignant neoplasm of prostate

HCPCS Codes

  • G0102 – Prostate cancer screening; digital rectal examination
  • G0103 – Prostate cancer screening; prostate specific antigen test (PSA)

The month of September was first officially designated as “National Prostate Health Month (NPHM)” by the American Foundation for Urological Disease (AFUD, now known as the Urology Care Foundation) in the year 1999. Formerly, the aim behind observing NPHM were more restricted – towards making the general public better informed about the different issues related to prostate health. However, Senate Resolution 138 was passed in the year 2001 that reaffirmed that the health month would be observed annually. In a 2003 presidential proclamation, President George W. Bush voiced his support for the month and specifically named the month National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month (NPCA).

Since 2003, this annual observance has become a unique platform for the prostate cancer community wherein thousands of patients, survivors, caregivers, health experts, medical researchers and health advocates throughout the country join together to create awareness about this disease by hosting various public education and awareness events. Several local and national awareness organizations and professional associations engage in activities designed to raise awareness about the issue and encourage men to talk to their healthcare providers about prostate cancer and the need for early detection and treatment.

Join “National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month (NPCA) celebration in September”. Make an effort to spread awareness about PC and educate people about the importance of early detection and screening.