In New Brunswick, Canada, Woman Diagnosed with Lung Cancer from Radon

x-ray 40.4 radon level

Sue Rickards, a resident of New Brunswick, is warning her community about the health hazards of radon, the second leading cause of lung cancer. Rickards was recently diagnosed with lung cancer due to radon seeping into her home and accumulating to a dangerous level. According to Health Canada, over 3,000 deaths from lung cancer every year are caused by indoor radon exposure. Even if you are a nonsmoker (like Sue Rickards), you are still at risk for lung cancer.

Rickard’s diagnosis began with her husband’s comment about her unusually labored breathing during sleep. Neither Rickards nor her husband expected her doctor to order a chest x-ray because of this simple comment, or for the x-ray  that led to  Rickards diagnosis of  lung cancer.

When her home was later tested for radon, the results were three to seven times over the national limit in Canada. Since radon is invisible and odorless, it’s impossible to detect without a radon test. There was no way for Rickards to know until her home was tested that she was breathing air that was hazardous to her health.

It is important for homeowners to test their homes for radon every two years (the U.S. EPA recommendation), as well as any time there are renovations performed on the home. Lung cancer symptoms often don’t develop noticeably until a patient is already at Stage IV, when the five year survival rate is at its lowest.


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