Radon and lung cancer.

Sethi TK, El-Ghamry MN, Kloecker GH
Clin Adv Hematol Oncol. 2012 10 (3): 157-64

PMID: 22402423

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer, following tobacco smoke. Radon is not only an independent risk factor; it also increases the risk of lung cancer in smokers. Numerous cohort, case-control, and experimental studies have established the carcinogenic potential of radon. The possibility of radon having a causative effect on other cancers has been explored but not yet proven. One of the postulated mechanisms of carcinogenesis is DNA damage by alpha particles mediated by the production of reactive oxygen species. The latter are also thought to constitute one of the common mechanisms underlying the synergistic effect of radon and tobacco smoke. With an estimated 21,000 lung cancer deaths attributable to radon in the United States annually, the need for radon mitigation is well acknowledged. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established an indoor limit of 4 picocuries (pCi)/L, and various methods are available for indoor radon reduction when testing shows higher levels. Radon mitigation should accompany smoking cessation measures in lung cancer prevention efforts.

MeSH Terms (9)

Carcinogens, Environmental Case-Control Studies Humans Lung Neoplasms Neoplasms Radon Risk Factors Smoking United States

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