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Cancer survivors issue 'radon challenge' to encourage testing in homes, businesses

Posted at 6:00 AM, Jan 15, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — Cancer survivors have issued a challenge to homeowners, school leaders and business owners to test their buildings for radon.

January is National Radon Action Month. Radon is a radioactive gas known to cause lung cancer.

Every 25 minutes, someone in the United States dies from lung cancer caused by radon, according to the group Cancer Survivors Against Radon (CanSAR).

Wife and mother Rachael Malmberg, who was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer, has teamed up with Air Chek, a radon testing laboratory to create a ‘Radon Challenge.’

“If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone,” Malmberg said.

Both Malberg’s childhood home and current home tested high for radon.

They’re urging people to go to and purchase a radon test kit at $16.98 and receive a second kit to gift to someone else and potentially save a life.

Net proceeds from the test kit sales will be donated to CanSAR to help families impacted by radon-induced lung cancer.

Last month, Malmberg was named President of CanSAR, a nonprofit organization founded in 2005 to help radon-induced lung cancer survivors and their families.

Indiana state health officials recently issued a plea for homeowners to test for radon.

The Indiana State Department of Health’s call to action came two months after a Call 6 Investigation found most schools do not test for radon, despite the EPA’s recommendation to test at least every five years.

PREVIOUS | Most Indiana schools ignore federal radon testing recommendations because it's not required.
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Radon comes from decaying uranium and enters buildings through small cracks and holes in the foundation, where it becomes trapped and accumulates in the air.

It creates 10 times the risk of lung cancer for smokers.

Lung Cancer and Radon Facts (from CanSAR)

• Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in both men and women in the U.S.
• Every day, 422 Americans die from lung cancer.
• Every hour, 27 people are diagnosed with lung cancer.
• Over the past 39 years, the rate of new lung cancer cases has fallen 32 percent among men while increasing 94 percent among women.
• Radon causes about 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year, making it the second leading cause of lung cancer death (the number 1 cause in nonsmokers).
• 1 person every 25 minutes dies from radon-induced lung cancer.
• Lung cancer has the lowest 5-year survival rate of the other most common cancers: only 18 percent.
• Early detection, by low dose CT screening, can decrease lung cancer mortality between 14-61 percent in high-risk populations.
• Radon testing can prevent more than 21,000 lung cancer deaths annually.

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