Cervical cancer was once one of the most common causes of cancer death for American women. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2014, about 12,360 new cases of invasive cervical cancer will be diagnosed and about 4,020 women will die from cervical cancer. Most cervical cancers are caused by persistent infection with certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV). Screening for colorectal and cervical cancers can actually prevent cancer by allowing for the detection and removal of pre-cancerous lesions. The Pap test is the most widely used cervical cancer screening method.
A recent study published online in the journal Cancer finds that the incidence of cervical cancer among women ages 65 to 69 was 84 percent higher than previously reported.
For this study, researchers excluded women who had hysterectomies, in which the cervix was removed because they were no longer at risk and then concluded that the overall rate of cervical cancer was 18.6 cases per 100,000 women. They also found that the incidence rose steadily with age and peaked at ages 65 to 69. They reported that after age 69, the corrected rates of cervical cancer decrease slightly and age 65 to 69 is the time in life when the incidence of cervical cancer peaks.
Inclusion of women with hysterectomies in cervical cancer studies made cancer rate seem lower than it is, researchers say. It’s higher than previously believed, notably in older women and black women.
Oncology professionals, while dealing with all these core research updates should also focus on appropriate reimbursements and frequent coding changes for the screening services provided. Oncology billing and coding is complex and requires a high level of experience and knowledge for appropriate coding, modifier application and payer-specific medical billing. It also requires eligibility verifications and pre-authorizations or authorizations to make sure that treatment given are covered and will get paid for.
The latest ICD codes for cervical cancer screening include:
- V76.2 Special screening for malignant neoplasm of cervix
- V76.2 Routine screening Pap test, intact cervix
- Z12.4 Encounter for screening for malignant neoplasm of cervix
- Z12.9 Encounter for screening for malignant neoplasm, site unspecified
The authors of the study point out that taking into consideration the high and non-declining rate of cervical cancer in women in the age group 60 – 65 years (the age at which women are eligible to stop screening), it is important to reconsider the risk and screening guidelines for cervical cancer in older women.