You might already know that the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the United States is lung cancer. Most of these people have a smoking history, but not all. About 20% of lung cancers occur in people who have never smoked.
Do you know the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers?
It’s radon, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Radon is an odorless, colorless, naturally occurring gas that emerges up from the ground and doesn’t pose much risk outdoors, but it can build up in houses or in underground water sources in concentrations that are harmful to humans, leading to lung cancer.
The EPA reports that radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year, with about 2,900 of these deaths being non-smokers. And Ohio has some of the highest levels of radon in the country.
So, how do you know if you even have radon in your home, and what kind of action should you take if you find it?
Let’s hear from two Ohio State experts in lung cancer and environmental health sciences:
David Carbone, MD, PhD, is a medical oncologist specializing in the latest treatments for people with lung cancer. He’s director of the Thoracic Oncology Center and co-leader of the Translational Therapeutics Program at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Center (OSUCCC – James), the Barbara J. Bonner Chair in Lung Cancer Research, and a professor of Internal Medicine at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.
Michael Bisesi, PhD, is an environmental and occupational health scientist. He’s vice dean of The Ohio State University College of Public Health and chair and professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences at the college.