To generate widespread awareness and understanding of lung cancer risk factors, as well as the importance of early screening and treatment – “World Lung Cancer Day (WLCD)” is observed on August 1 every year. Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in the world. As per reports from the World Health Organization (WHO, 2020 statistics), lung cancer is responsible for nearly 1 in 5 cancer deaths globally. It claims a greater number of lives each year than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined. Lung cancer mortality is projected to reach 2.45 million by 2030, a 39 percent increase in just over a decade. Generally, the condition is more common among older people. The average age of diagnosis is 70 years. People who have the habit of smoking are at the greatest risk of lung cancer, though it can also occur in people who have never smoked. Treatment modalities for this condition depend on the type, severity and stages of cancer and other related factors like overall health of the patient and patient preferences. Oncologists or other specialists administering different treatment modalities should have up-to-date knowledge about the latest guidelines or practices for medical billing and coding. For correct clinical documentation of this lung disorder, physicians can utilize medical coding outsourcing services.

The 2021 worldwide observance acts as a global platform to recognize the efforts of the lung cancer community to raise awareness about this type of cancer, create an educational movement of understanding lung cancer risks, as well as early treatment around the world. It aims to challenge the stigma associated with lung cancer and highlight the perspectives of patients. The campaign was first organized in the year 2012 by the Forum of International Respiratory Societies, in collaboration with the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) and also the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST). The campaign takes into consideration all of those that have been diagnosed with the disease and also those that have recovered from it, and works to provide adequate support for them.

The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) is the largest organization in the world of its kind that only deals with lung cancer. Their main objective is to inform people about the leading causes of lung cancer. Generally, smoking or secondhand exposure to smoke is number one of lung cancer. In either of these cases, there may be no clear cause of lung cancer. Signs and symptoms associated with the condition are not visible in its early stages. Typically, the symptoms occur when the disease reaches an advanced stage and include – a cough (that doesn’t go away), shortness of breath, coughing up blood (even a small amount), losing significant amount of weight without weight loss efforts, bone pain, chest pain, hoarseness and headache. The campaign aims to challenge the social stigma associated with the lung cancer community and encourage people to seek medical advice sooner, to promote early diagnosis and thereby ensure the best possible chances of treating the disease effectively.

Lung cancer diagnosis may begin with a detailed evaluation of symptoms by performing several screening and imaging tests like – Computed Tomography (CT) scan, Chest X-rays, Bronchoscopy, Sputum cytology and Fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy of the lung. These imaging tests help identify the disease in its early stages (before it spreads to the lymph nodes or other areas of the body) so that treatment modalities can be administered early in order to reduce the chances of complications. Once the lung cancer has been diagnosed, oncologists will work closely with other physician specialists to determine the extent (stage) of cancer and decide what treatment is most appropriate.

Medicare Part B offers coverage for lung cancer screening with Low Dose Computed Tomography (LDCT) once a year for all eligible patients. The LDCT annual coverage is offered to people in the age group of 55 to 77 years, who are either current smokers or have quit smoking in the previous 15 years, who are asymptomatic, who have a 30 pack-year history of tobacco smoking (an average of one pack a day for 30 years), and who have a written order from a physician or qualified non-physician practitioner that meets certain requirements. The coverage includes a visit for counseling and shared decision-making on the benefits and risks of cancer screening. Correct billing and coding is essential on the part of oncologists and the medical billing and coding outsourcing companies that assist them to ensure proper reimbursement. ICD-10 diagnosis codes for lung cancer include –

  • C34 Malignant neoplasm of bronchus and lung
  • C34.0 Malignant neoplasm of main bronchus
    • C34.00 Malignant neoplasm of unspecified main bronchus
    • C34.01 Malignant neoplasm of right main bronchus
    • C34.02 Malignant neoplasm of left main bronchus
  • C34.1 Malignant neoplasm of upper lobe, bronchus or lung
    • C34.10 Malignant neoplasm of upper lobe, unspecified bronchus or lung
    • C34.11 Malignant neoplasm of upper lobe, right bronchus or lung
    • C34.12 Malignant neoplasm of upper lobe, left bronchus or lung
  • C34.2 Malignant neoplasm of middle lobe, bronchus or lung
  • C34.3 Malignant neoplasm of lower lobe, bronchus or lung
    • C34.30 Malignant neoplasm of lower lobe, unspecified bronchus or lung
    • C34.31 Malignant neoplasm of lower lobe, right bronchus or lung
    • C34.32 Malignant neoplasm of lower lobe, left bronchus or lung
  • C34.8 Malignant neoplasm of overlapping sites of bronchus and lung
    • C34.80 Malignant neoplasm of overlapping sites of unspecified bronchus and lung
    • C34.81 Malignant neoplasm of overlapping sites of right bronchus and lung
    • C34.82 Malignant neoplasm of overlapping sites of left bronchus and lung
  • C34.9 Malignant neoplasm of unspecified part of bronchus or lung
    • C34.90 Malignant neoplasm of unspecified part of unspecified bronchus or lung
    • C34.91 Malignant neoplasm of unspecified part of right bronchus or lung
    • C34.92 Malignant neoplasm of unspecified part of left bronchus or lung

The IASLC World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) is the world’s largest meeting dedicated to lung cancer and other thoracic malignancies. More than 7,000 delegates come from more than 100 countries to discuss the latest developments in thoracic malignancy research. Key attendees include – medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons, pulmonologists, radiologists, pathologists, epidemiologists, basic research scientists, nurses and allied health professionals and patients.

Over the span of 9 years, new research, diagnosis and treatment breakthroughs in the field of lung cancer research have brought new hope to patients and their families. The yearly global campaign has been instrumental in developing a continuing public dialogue related to education and research – the route to the early diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer and, hopefully, the cure. To help spread the message about lung cancer, the IASLC has created a series of fact sheets focusing on different regions around the globe and have translated them into several different languages. Other campaign activities include – early diagnosis and awareness about lung cancer research through dedicated Speakers Bureau and Young Investigators. People can also share stories or posts about their experiences of living with lung cancer and how lung cancer research has made a serious difference in their life via several social media platforms. People can post stories with the hashtag – #LivingWithLungCancer, #WLCD2021 and more.

Celebrate WLCD on August 1. Spread awareness about the risk factors of lung cancer and highlight the importance of early detection through lung cancer screening.