When someone is diagnosed with cancer, one of the first thoughts they have is: What could I have done differently to avoid this? Unfortunately, cancer is not always preventable. However, certain lifestyle habits and exposure to certain chemicals, like radon, could have made your body more susceptible. Here, we discuss how some environmental factors, including your own home, can lead to lung cancer.
Living with Radon
After tobacco smoke, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer. When non-smokers are diagnosed, it could be because their home or work site had a radon problem — and they never even knew it.
Radon is a gas. It’s similar to carbon monoxide because they are both invisible to the human eye. Radon is produced when uranium breaks down in soil and rocks. Though everyone is exposed to the gas outside, it’s dangerous when it builds up inside of a home. The gas can enter homes through the soil via cracks and gaps in the foundation.
Every time you breathe in radon, you’re exposing your lungs to radiation. With excessive or prolonged exposure, this radiation can cause lung cancer to develop. However, having radon in the home doesn’t always cause lung cancer. Many people are unaffected. But if you smoke and live in a house with radon, your chances for developing the disease increase.
Does My House Have Radon?
Any home can have a radon problem, even new homes. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) believes as many as one in 15 homes has high levels. Radon tends to be more of an issue in Midwestern and Northeastern states, including New Jersey, Maryland and Connecticut.
It’s recommended that homes be tested for radon before buying or selling, but you can have yours tested at any time. There are DIY kits to do it yourself, as well as professionals who will come out and test it for you. If the radon levels are higher than 4 picocuries per liter of air, you’ll want to get the problem taken care of sooner rather than later.
Radon-Related Lung Cancer Treatment
Whether your cancer is caused by tobacco, radon or something else, like asbestos or arsenic, Regional Cancer Care Associates can help. Find your local office and set up an appointment today to learn more.