More people die from lung cancer than any other form of the disease. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 158,592 people in the United States were given this horrible diagnosis in 2008. With a very low survival rate – only between 11 and 15 percent of people diagnosed with it will live longer than five years – lung cancer can quickly become tragic for those who are diagnosed with it and the people who love them.
The good news is that there are several things you can do to reduce your risk of getting it. When people think of lung cancer, it's probably often linked to cigarette smoke right off the bat – and with good reason. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), smoking causes $160,000 cancer deaths in the United States each year, making it the leading cause of lung cancer.
But steering clear from cigarettes won't guarantee that you don't end up with this terrible disease. Breathing in secondhand smoke leads to about 3,000 cancer-related deaths per year. However, there's another common cause that has nothing to do with nicotine or tobacco.
Radon causes more lung cancer deaths among non-smokers than anything else, says the EPA. After discovering that this dangerous chemical element is responsible for more than 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year, U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona issued a national health advisory on radon in 2005.
Fortunately, however, radon exposure can be avoided as long as people take the proper precautions. Before you move into a new home – or if you have reason to suspect that there is radon present in your current house – it's essential to have a home inspection contractor conduct radon testing and make sure that you and your loved ones are safe from this hazardous chemical.