Examining the relationship between lung cancer and radon in small areas across Scotland


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Abstract

Numerous studies have suggested that long-term exposure to radon gas may be an important cause of lung cancer, yet the precise effects are still not fully understood, especially in residential settings. This paper considers whether there is a relationship between the distribution of naturally occurring radon gas and lung cancer incidence in Scotland, for the period 1988–1991. We use regression analysis to test whether exposure to radon was a significant cause of lung cancer in Scotland, once smoking and other possible confounding factors were controlled for. The results demonstrate that for the population aged over 54, there was no significant relationship between radon exposure and lung cancer incidence. However, for those aged less than 55, lung cancer rates were significantly higher in places expected to have the highest levels of radon. These results suggest that more research is needed into the relationship between exposure to naturally occurring radon gas and lung cancer in Scotland, particularly among younger age groups.

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