Exposure to Radon Causes Lung Cancer In Non-smokers and Smokers Alike
Lung cancer kills thousands of Americans every year. The untimely deaths of Peter Jennings and Dana Reeve have raised public awareness about lung cancer, especially among people who have never smoked. Smoking, radon, and secondhand smoke are the leading causes of lung cancer.Although lung cancer can be treated, the survival rate is one of the lowest for those with cancer.From the time of diagnosis, between 11 and 15 percent of those afflicted will live beyond five years, depending upon demographic factors.In many cases lung cancer can be prevented; this is especially true for radon.
Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. Smoking causes an estimated 160,000* deaths in the U.S. every year (American Cancer Society, 2004).And the rate among women is rising. On January 11, 1964, Dr. Luther L. Terry, then U.S. Surgeon General, issued the first warning on the link between smoking and lung cancer. Lung cancer now surpasses breast cancer as the number one cause of death among women. A smoker who is also exposed to radon has a much higher risk of lung cancer.
Radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers, according to EPA estimates. Overall, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. Radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year. About 2,900 of these deaths occur among people who have never smoked. On January 13, 2005, Dr. Richard H. Carmona, the U.S. Surgeon General, issued a national health advisory on radon. Visit www.cheec.uiowa.edu/misc/radon.html for more on a study by Dr. William Field on radon-related lung cancer in women.
Secondhand smoke is the third leading cause of lung cancer and responsible for an estimated 3,000 lung cancer deaths every year.About 1,000 of these are people that never smoked, and about 2,000 are former smokers.Smoking affects non-smokers by exposing them to secondhand smoke.Exposure to secondhand smoke can have serious consequences for children’s health, including asthma attacks, affecting the respiratory tract (bronchitis, pneumonia), and may cause ear infections.
Learning more about lung cancer. The following sources provide a wide range of good information about lung cancer, prevention, and treatment.
- American Cancer Society — www.cancer.org
- American Lung Association — www.lungusa.org
- National Cancer Institute — www.nci.nih.gov/
- Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center — www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/vicc
- Memorial Sloan-Kettering — www.mskcc.org/mskcc/html/44.cfm
(June 21, 2005) The World Health Organization (WHO) says radon causes up to 15% of lung cancers worldwide.In an effort to reduce the rate of lung cancer around the world, the World Health Organization (WHO) is launching a new international radon project to help countries increase awareness, collect data and encourage action to reduce radon-related risks. The U.S. EPA is one of several countries supporting this initiative and is encouraged by WHO’s attention to this important public health issue.“Radon poses an easily reducible health risk to populations all over the world, but has not up to now received widespread attention,” said Dr. Michael Repacholi, coordinator of WHO’s Radiation and Environmental Health Unit. He went on to say that “radon in our homes is the main source of exposure to ionizing radiation, and accounts for 50% of the public’s exposure to naturally-occurring sources of radiation in many countries.”World Health Organization Launches Radon Effort
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