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C. Egan

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    ORAL 23 - Prevention and Cancer Risk (ID 121)

    • Event: WCLC 2015
    • Type: Oral Session
    • Track: Prevention and Tobacco Control
    • Presentations: 1
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      ORAL23.06 - Radon Gas Exposure and Lung Cancer in a Cohort of Lung Cancer Patients Who Never Smoked (ID 2859)

      10:45 - 12:15  |  Author(s): C. Egan

      • Abstract
      • Presentation
      • Slides

      Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas produced by the breakdown of uranium and uranium progeny in soil and rocks. This colourless and odourless gas moves easily through bedrock and foundations to accumulate within homes (basements) and buildings. Once inhaled, radon gas can decay to solid radionucleotides that deposit within tissue of the airways and lungs and continue to emit alpha particle radiation over the course of >25 years. Exposure to radon gas is thought to be a major epidemiological risk for the development of lung cancer in people who have never smoked, but the precise relationship between exposure and molecular alterations associated with lung cancer are poorly described. In order to explore the relationship between domestic radon gas levels and lung cancer incidence in never-smokers, we set out to identify a cohort of Alberta lung cancer patients who have never smoked and measure radon gas levels of in their homes.

      The Glans-Look Database, comprised of clinicopathological and outcome data for over 5000 patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) consulted at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre between 1999 and 2010, was searched for patients who had developed NSCLC but never smoked. Follow-up information was obtained to determine if the patients or their family members still lived at the address provided at diagnosis. Initial letters of contact were sent explaining the study. Patients and their family members will be notified by mail of the levels of radon gas in their homes, and how best to mitigate levels if high. Radon concentration was examined as a continuous variable and as a dichotomous variable, using the cut point value of 200 Bq/m[3] suggested by Health Canada guidelines. Statistical analysis of data utilizes Cox proportional hazard regression models to examine the independent effects of radon exposure on patient outcome, utilizing IBM SPSS Statistical Package version 19. The model addresses the possible confounding variables of exposure to second hand smoke, type and age of dwelling, family history of lung cancer, profession and hours spent within the home.

      A cohort of 317 patients was identified, 189 of whom met study criteria requirement. As of March 2015, 42 patients or their family members agreed to participate in this study. 30 long term testing radon monitors have been placed in the homes where patients lived for at least five years before developing NSCLC. These monitors are being collected by the study team by: all will be retrieved by June 30, 2015, three months after initial placement.

      This study will contribute significantly to our understanding of residential radon gas exposure in NSCLC, and in the short term, alert patients and their families to potential risk of high level radon gas exposure. In the longer term, as this will be the first study of its type in Alberta, the findings may be seminal in forming the basis of a health program for improved testing for radon gas in the home and educating the public with respect to the dangers of radon gas exposure.

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