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How a home radon test could prevent lung cancer

Date Published: 05/06/2020 [Source]

Just about everyone knows smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer.

But another major cause is radon -- an invisible, odorless gas -- and it could be in the ground beneath your house.

For nonsmokers, radon is the most common cause of lung cancer, and for smokers, the combination of cigarettes and radon is particularly lethal.

Radon is a byproduct of the natural breakdown of uranium, a common element in rocks.

"Because radon comes from the soil, it will generally be highest in the lowest level of the house," explains geologist Dan Deocampo at Georgia State University. "Whether that's a basement or a crawl space or the first floor of the house. As you move up in a house, the amount of radon usually goes down."

The cancer risks of radon "We don't know how long after you've been exposed to radon gas you can develop lung cancer," says Dr. Saeid Khansarinia of Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta. "Some studies say anywhere from five to 25 years after exposure to radon gas, you can develop lung cancer."

Some states don't require homeowners to test for radon but Deocampo and Khansarinia agree everyone should test every residence they plan to live in.