Radon in the home responsible for 9% of lung cancer deaths across Europe

December 21, 2004

The effects of natural radon gas escaping the earth's surface into our homes is causing 9% of all deaths from lung cancer across Europe, and smokers are most at risk, according to a paper on BMJ.com today (21 December 2004).

Radon gas emissions contain radioactive particles which disperse naturally outdoors, but can build up in indoor environments. Most of the radon we breathe is exhaled immediately, but some of the particles can attach themselves to the lungs, exposing them to damaging levels of radiation.

Researchers analysed 7,148 cases of lung cancer and 14,208 controls (people who had not developed lung cancer) across Europe. In the largest study of its kind, they examined radon levels in the present and past homes of all the lung cancer sufferers and the controls. They also obtained detailed smoking histories, including the effects of second-hand smoke on lifelong non-smokers.

They found that radon accounted for 20,000 deaths from lung cancer in Europe each year, equating to 9% of lung cancer deaths and 2% of all cancer deaths across Europe. The risk of radon-induced lung cancer increased proportionally to how much radon people were exposed to.

Smokers were at much greater risk of developing lung cancer, as radon exposure multiplied the effects of smoking.

Concentrations of radon in homes vary widely from house to house, and urban areas tend to have lower levels than rural areas. Action can however be taken to reduce radon exposure in the home, say the authors. At moderate cost increasing underfloor ventilation would reduce high radon concentrations in existing homes. As new homes are constructed, a radon proof barrier installed at ground level would be even lower cost, they conclude.
-end-


BMJ

Related Lung Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

State-level lung cancer screening rates not aligned with lung cancer burden in the US
A new study reports that state-level lung cancer screening rates were not aligned with lung cancer burden.

The lung microbiome may affect lung cancer pathogenesis and prognosis
Enrichment of the lungs with oral commensal microbes was associated with advanced stage disease, worse prognosis, and tumor progression in patients with lung cancer, according to results from a study published in Cancer Discovery, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

New analysis finds lung cancer screening reduces rates of lung cancer-specific death
Low-dose CT screening methods may prevent one death per 250 at-risk adults screened, according to a meta-analysis of eight randomized controlled clinical trials of lung cancer screening.

'Social smokers' face disproportionate risk of death from lung disease and lung cancer
'Social smokers' are more than twice as likely to die of lung disease and more than eight times as likely to die of lung cancer than non-smokers, according to research presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress.

Lung cancer therapy may improve outcomes of metastatic brain cancer
A medication commonly used to treat non-small cell lung cancer that has spread, or metastasized, may have benefits for patients with metastatic brain cancers, suggests a new review and analysis led by researchers at St.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Lung transplant patients face elevated lung cancer risk
In an American Journal of Transplantation study, lung cancer risk was increased after lung transplantation, especially in the native (non-transplanted) lung of single lung transplant recipients.

Proposed cancer treatment may boost lung cancer stem cells, study warns
Epigenetic therapies -- targeting enzymes that alter what genes are turned on or off in a cell -- are of growing interest in the cancer field as a way of making a cancer less aggressive or less malignant.

Are you at risk for lung cancer?
This question isn't only for people who've smoked a lot.

Read More: Lung Cancer News and Lung Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.