Nov 20

Real radon story from Canada

The death of Anne-Marie Nicol’s mother never made sense: How could she die of lung cancer?

“She’d been a never smoker, a very fit person,” said Nicol, who grew up in Coquitlam and now works as a principal investigator at CareX Canada, an SFU-based group of researchers and specialists focused on reducing environmental exposures to carcinogens across the country.

After Nicol’s mother passed away in 2013, her father sold the home quickly in his grief and Nicol never got the chance to test for any environmental factors that could have triggered her lung cancer. Still, Nicol has her suspicions and her loss has helped focus her work even more.

“We’re learning a lot about the other things that contribute to lung cancer besides tobacco,” she said.

One of the main suspects is an invisible, odourless and radioactive gas more than half of Canadians have never heard of: radon.

“It never ceases to amaze me how many people haven’t heard about it — and it’s the second leading cause of lung cancer, and the first if you don’t smoke,” said Nicol. 

Health Canada estimates radon gas kills roughly 3,200 Canadians a year, more than any other environmental carcinogen after UV radiation, according to one Ontario study.

It’s not just people’s private dwellings that are at risk. Radon has been found in public buildings, hospitals and schools.

As the regional representative for the Health Canada supported campaign Take Action on Radon, Nicol has travelled widely across B.C. trying to get community members to pick up the mantle on radon testing.

#lungcancer #lungcancerawareness #lungcancerawarenessmonth #radon #health #healthtech #DeTodoPulmón #IoT

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