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How Radon Gas is linked to Lung Cancer Risk

Most lung cancer deaths are caused by cigarette smoking. Reports say that cigarette smokers are likely to develop and die from lung cancer than those who don’t smoke.  The association between lung cancer and radon gas is not very common, but radon is still linked to 15% of lung cancers across the world.

Radon is a radioactive gas that results from the natural breakdown of uranium found in rocks, soils, and water. It is found in schools, homes, and offices in areas near a water supply. The colorless and odorless gas often permeates the air, and when inhaled, it can cause lung cancer in people who don’t smoke. 

Radon gas can break down into tiny radioactive elements (radon progeny), which settle in the lung lining when inhaled. This gives off radiation that damages lung cells, causing lung cancer.

During winter, when all windows and doors are closed, radon from the soil, floors, and walls is emitted and inhaled or ingested during daily activities like showering, cooking, drinking water, and cooking. Warm temperatures help to dilute radon in buildings since fresh air circulates through the open doors and windows.

Smokers exposed to radon gas are likely to die from lung cancer. A study found out that over 85% of lung cancer deaths were associated with radon-induced cases among smokers. It was observed that radon exposure elevates the risk of all types of lung cancer. The highest risk was for small cell cancers than in adenocarcinoma and small cell carcinoma. Uncommon histologic types of lung cancers also showed higher risks.

The only way to find out the levels of radon in the home or office is by getting it tested by a professional, test kits are also sold by hardware and home improvement stores. Certified professionals can inspect the home and advise on ways to eliminate the radon gas.

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