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What is the Connection Between Radon and Cancer?

Patti Kate
Patti Kate

Radon and cancer are connected through scientific research that shows radon can cause cancer. Radon is a odorless, invisible toxic gas that is impossible to detect without proper testing. This radioactive gas is one of several environmental carcinogenics. Exposure over a period of time can lead to deterioration of cells within the human body. These altered cells may reproduce cancerous cells in mass quantity.

Cells that have been altered by exposure to radon when a person inhales this toxic gas may reproduce within the lining of the lung tissue. In the past, many miners who had been exposed to radon developed tumors and other cancers of the lungs. Scientific study revealed that radioactive elements in the rock and soil where the miners worked were to blame. As parts of the dirt and rocks decay, the toxic substance called radon is released into the air, and may be inhaled through the lungs.


Some older homes or buildings may be affected by radon. If there is concern of a connection between radon and cancer, it is crucial to have the building and the outdoor proximity tested for radon. Environmental factors may alter the levels of radon, which is why tests may be conducted at various times throughout the year to be conclusive.

The correlation between radon and cancer may be determined by measuring the levels of radioactive gas within homes of patients who have developed lung cancer. As with testing underground work sites where cancer-stricken miners had worked, this may suggest evidence of a direct link between exposure to the gas and developing the disease.

The direct association between radon and cancer lies in how the gas becomes distributed throughout the body, and its potential affect. When exposure to particles from the heavy metals of this toxic gas are inhaled, the bloodstream circulates the toxicity throughout the body. Although various organs may become affected by radon toxicity, the lining of the lungs becomes the primary home for these particles. The deeper the particles have become embedded, the more potential for irreversible damage.

When altered cells become affected by radon poisoning, they may reproduce. These damaged cells may reproduce defectively, creating cancerous cells. These genetic alterations within cell structures may not only cause lung cancer, but other cancers as well. Cancer of the blood, known as leukemia, may be a direct result of exposure to radon.

The way to reduce risks associated with radon exposure is to have the home tested periodically. Installing a protective radon-proof sealant in the home is another precaution that may reduce risks considerably. It may also be beneficial to hire a professional contractor to assess areas of concern and suggest solutions.

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