Have you tested your home for radon yet? If not, now is the time to do it.

Radon is an odorless, tasteless gas that has been found in 40 percent of the homes in Idaho that have been tested. It’s the leading cause of lung cancer for nonsmokers, and the only way to know it’s in your home is to test for it. The dangerous gas causes more than 21,000 deaths a year in the United States, and it’s a very serious health issue in Idaho

How does radon get into homes?

Radon is a naturally occurring gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium. It seeps from soil into homes and buildings through crawl spaces, and cracks and openings in foundations. It tends to build up the most in winter, when people have their homes closed up tight against the cold. That’s why now it’s a good time to test for it in the lowest level of your home where you spend time. Continue reading

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Best way to avoid lung cancer? Quit smoking.

You may not know that lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in Idaho. Other kinds of cancers certainly get a lot more attention, but we should all be aware of the risks. Smoking causes about 85 percent of lung cancer deaths in Idaho, but that leaves 15 percent that are not caused by smoking. And since November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, it’s important to understand what we can do to reduce our risk for developing this terrible disease.

Are there symptoms of lung cancer?

Symptoms can vary a lot for everyone, so they’re not very reliable. Some people don’t have symptoms at all, but others may have shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing that doesn’t go away and that might include blood, chest pain, fever, and weight loss.

Who is most at risk?

Everyone has the potential to develop lung cancer, but some people have a higher risk than others because of lifestyle choices (like choosing to smoke), environmental exposures (like radon), and family history. Current smokers or those who have smoked in the past are 10 to 20 times more likely to develop lung cancer than nonsmokers. Secondhand smoke also causes lung cancer – nationally about 38,000 nonsmokers die each year from secondhand smoke exposure. Continue reading