Every year, November 21 is observed as “World Pancreatic Cancer Day (WPCD)” around the globe. Sponsored by the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition, the one-day event is a unique platform for people across the globe to join the fight against the world’s toughest cancer. It is a perfect time for communities around the globe to come together to renew their dedication and help raise awareness about this disease. Pancreatic cancer occurs when uncontrolled cell growth begins in the tissues of your pancreas. The pancreas – a gland located deep in the abdomen (between the stomach and the spine)makes enzymes that help digestion and hormones that control blood-sugar levels. Typically, this type of cancer spreads rapidly to nearby organs and shows no visible symptoms until the later stages. Signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer often don’t occur until the disease becomes advanced. One prominent sign of pancreatic cancer is diabetes, especially when it occurs with weight loss, jaundice or pain in the upper abdomen that spreads to the back. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination of any of these. Gastroenterologists or surgical oncologists who happen to treat this condition can rely on professional medical billing outsourcing companies to meet their claim submission tasks to ensure accurate reimbursement.

According Pancreatic.org, every day more than 1,257 people worldwide will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. In nearly every country, pancreatic cancer is the only major cancer with a single-digit five-year survival rate of 2-9%. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States surpassing breast cancer. It is estimated that about 56,770 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and about 45,750 will die from the disease in 2019. The World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition, as part of the campaign brings together more than 80 organizations from over 30 countries and six continents to raise awareness and inspire action. Through this combined effort, they are planning to bring greater attention, awareness, and better outcomes to this deadly disease.

Pancreatic cancers are classified into two different types – depending on whether it affects the exocrine or endocrine functions. The exact causes of this condition are unknown, but several risk factors like – genetic conditions, age, sex, environmental toxins and other lifestyle and medical factors may increase the risk of this condition. The condition is often called a “silent disease” as the symptoms do not become visible in the early stages, which can make it hard to diagnose early. Symptoms can also be vague and may come and go, while the severity can vary from one person to another. A person may not have any or all of these symptoms like – pain in the upper abdomen (that radiates to your back), loss of appetite or unintended weight loss, yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice), new-onset diabetes, mood change, fatigue and weakness or dizziness.

Diagnosis of this condition begins with a detailed physician analysis wherein he/she will ask questions about symptoms, conduct a detailed family and medical history review and carry out a physical examination. Imaging tests like Ultrasound, Computerized tomography (CT) scan, Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and in some cases Positron emission tomography (PET) scans will be performed to visualize internal organs. Laboratory tests like blood tests, urine tests and stool tests may also be conducted. In addition, biopsy may be performed wherein the physician may remove a small sample of tissue for testing.

After completing the diagnostic procedures, if the physician confirms the presence of cancerous cells, he/she may try to determine the extent (stage) of cancer, or how far the cancer has spread. Treatment options may depend on the stage and location of the cancer as well as the overall health and personal preferences of the patient. Treatment modalities may include – surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or a combination of any of these. Physicians while dealing with pancreatic cancer patients, 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 Pancreatic Cancer include –

  • C25 – Malignant neoplasm of pancreas
  • C25.0 – Malignant neoplasm of head of pancreas
  • C25.1 – Malignant neoplasm of body of pancreas
  • C25.2 – Malignant neoplasm of tail of pancreas
  • C25.3 – Malignant neoplasm of pancreatic duct
  • C25.4 – Malignant neoplasm of endocrine pancreas
  • C25.7 – Malignant neoplasm of other parts of pancreas
  • C25.8 – Malignant neoplasm of overlapping sites of pancreas
  • C25.9 – Malignant neoplasm of pancreas, unspecified

In the year 2013, pancreatic cancer patient advocacy organizations from around the world came together in Geneva to discuss the possibility of working collaboratively to raise global pancreatic cancer awareness. An international committee was formed and it was decided unanimously by the members of the committee that a special day must be initiated to spread awareness about the disease. The committee launched the “World Pancreatic Cancer Day (WPCD)” for the first time on November 13, 2014. The one-day campaign quickly became a global success and with each passing year – its outreach, visibility, and engagement continued to grow across the world. Due to the huge success of the campaign, the international committee decided to take their efforts one step further and launched a formal “World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition (WPCC)” in May2016 with more than 40 organizations from over 20 countries across the globe. Now, the WPCC has more than 80 organizations from over 30 countries in six continents.

WPCC members have access to universal tools and resources for “World Pancreatic Cancer Day” celebration throughout the year. The members meet face-to-face annually to share knowledge, expertise and best practices. In support of the campaign, people can make a donation, share the facts about pancreatic cancer or share individual cancer stories in order to make a lasting impact. Individuals and healthcare organizations across the world may wear or light up their building in purple color to support this campaign. People can participate in this campaign by sharing their selfies or group photos wearing purple and sharing on social media platform with the hash tag #PurpleforaPurpose.

Join “World Pancreatic Cancer Day (WPCD)” campaign on November 21. Take action to raise awareness about pancreatic cancer, its symptoms, risk factors and the urgent need for early detection.