Doctors Warn Americans To Test For Radon, Second Leading Cause Of Lung Cancer

Radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S., but a new survey shows many Americans are unaware of the dangerous threat that could be lurking in their homes.

Friday, April 12th 2024, 11:22 am

By: News 9


According to the CDC, exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S., but a new survey shows many Americans are unaware of the dangerous threat that could be lurking in their homes.

Today’s Medical Minute has more on why everyone should be testing for odorless, colorless gas.

Chasity Harney never expected where she lives could put her at risk for lung cancer, but she was diagnosed with stage four disease six years ago. 

She was 40 years old, healthy, and never smoked.

Doctors spoke to her about exposure to radon, a colorless, odorless radioactive gas, so she had her home tested.  

“Anything four and below is normal, and mine was eight. So it was doubled,” Harney said. 

Radon comes from the radioactive decay of uranium and is found in rocks and soil.

It causes over 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year, yet 75% of Americans have not tested their homes, according to a new survey from the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.  

Dr. David Carbone, the director of the Thoracic Oncology Center at OSU, said the best way to prevent danger is to be proactive. 

“It's important to be aware of this, to detect it in your house and to remediate it if they're high,” Carbone said. 

 Carbone non-smoking lung cancers are on the rise and are likely linked to long-term exposure to radon. 

He said that can cause gene mutations leading to cancer.

“The risk of radon is related to not just the intensity at a given point of time, but the duration of time. Many schools are not tested for radon. Many businesses,” Carbone said.   

Harney has had surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation and tests have shown her mutation can be treated with targeted therapy. 

“I want others to know that anybody with lungs can get lung cancer. This is not a smoker's disease anymore,” Harney said. 

She says every place should be checked for radon yearly, because it could save lives.

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