World Cancer Day (WCD) – a one-day campaign aimed to spread awareness about cancer prevention, detection, and treatment – is observed globally on February 4 every year. Initiated by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), the WCD activities seek to significantly reduce the instances of illness and death caused by cancer by the year 2020. Regarded as an emerging major health problem globally, cancer is a group of diseases characterized by the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells. The condition can spread throughout your body resulting in tumors, damage to the immune system and other impairment that can be fatal. 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 depend on the cancer type and the rate of its advancement. Treatment plans may include surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy, hormone therapy, immunotherapy or stem cell transplantation. Oncologists can rely on outsourced medical billing companies to meet their medical billing and coding requirements.

According to Worldcancer.org, 9.6 million people die each year from cancer – which is more than HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Experts project that cancer deaths will increase up to 13 million by the end of 2030. Reports from the American Cancer Society suggest that more than 1.8 million new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2020. It is estimated that about 42 percent of newly diagnosed cancers in the United States – about 750,000 cases in 2020 – are potentially avoidable.

There are many causes of cancer, the most common being changes (mutations) to the DNA within cells. Other risk factors include age, family history, smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, excess body weight and physical inactivity. Signs and symptoms of cancer depend on the type of cancer, where it is located, 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), difficulty swallowing and more.

WCD 2020 aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year through education, raising awareness and by pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action. Diagnosis of different types of cancer involves a physical examination (to feel for areas in your body for lumps that may indicate a tumor), lab tests (such as urine and blood tests to identify abnormalities) and medical history review of symptoms. Diagnostic 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 addition, biopsy will also be done wherein the samples of cells will be collected for detailed testing in the lab. Once the cancer is diagnosed, physicians will work to verify the specific stage of the condition so that the correct treatment modality can be administered. Common treatment modalities include – chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted drug therapy, hormone therapy and immunotherapy. If any of these treatments do not yield the desired results, surgery will be considered as an option. The goal of surgery is to remove the cancerouscells as much as possible.

Physicians while dealing with patients suffering from different types of cancers, must correctly document the symptoms, screening tests and other treatment procedures offered using the correct diagnosis codes. Medical billing services provided by reputable billing and coding companies can help in timely claim submissions for accurate reimbursement.

ICD-10 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
  • C81-C96 – Malignant neoplasms of lymphoid, hematopoietic and related tissue

The 2020 WCD campaign that marks the midway point of the 3-year theme (2019 -2021) – ‘I Am and I Will’ – is a powerful call to action urging for personal commitment and represents the power of individual action taken now to impact the future.

The origins of World Cancer Day (WCD) can be traced all the way back to the establishment of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) in 1933. The main goal of UICC was to share knowledge on a global basis. Over the years, the organization has widened its activities to all possible areas that are related to cancer and lend support to the development of different cancer institutions.

The idea for WCD started at the first “World Summit against Cancer” that was held in Paris, France in 2000. As part of the summit, representatives from different worldwide governmental agencies and cancer organizations 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.

As part of the campaign, businesses, non-profit health organizations, governmental agencies and cancer awareness groups come together to help the general public learn more about the different types of cancer, treatments, and preventative measures. A wide range of programs are organized throughout the year such as special television/radio broadcasts online and newspaper advertisements, local fund-raising events such as walks, concerts and public information booths (featuring information fact sheets/booklets/posters), that promote cancer awareness.

People can also get involved by spreading the news about WCD to their friends and family via social media platforms, donating money to cancer research programs and by getting involved in many of the events that are held on this day. In addition, people can acknowledge this day by wearing one of the cancer awareness ribbons. The official colors of WCD are blue and orange.

Join the WCD celebration on February 4. Spread awareness about cancer and encourage people to prevent and detect it early.