KDHE Wants Kansans to Get Educated About Radon

By Trish Svoboda

In collaboration with the Kansas Radon Program, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) encourages Kansans to educate themselves about radon and explore ways to reduce its associated risks this January.

After cigarette smoking, radon is the second primary cause of lung cancer. Shockingly, 1 in 4 homes in Kansas registers high levels of radon, according to a release. This radioactive gas results from the breakdown of naturally occurring uranium in the soil. Radon cannot be seen, smelled, or heard. Testing is the only way to determine if a home has high levels of radon.

The likelihood of developing lung cancer due to radon exposure significantly rises in individuals who smoke. Smokers or those exposed to secondhand smoke, combined with radon exposure, have a ten times higher risk of developing lung cancer compared to non-smokers exposed to equivalent radon levels. The 2021 Cancer Burden Report shows an average of over 1,900 lung cancer cases are diagnosed annually among Kansas residents, with approximately 70% (around 1,350 cases) being diagnosed in the late stages. The report also reveals that about 1,500 Kansans die from the disease each year.

Learn more about what Kansas is doing to reduce the risk of cancer among Kansans by reading the 2022-2027 Kansas Cancer Prevention and Control Plan. Get a low-cost, short-term radon test kit at your local K-State Extension office. Learn more about the relationship between tobacco and radon here.

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