Courtney Pankow and Jackie Girard are third year nursing students at UBC of the Okanagan. They want to raise awareness about radon in the Kootenays.

Nursing students talk radon

Cigarettes, second-hand smoke, asbestos, and pollution are all well-known cancer causing agents.

Cigarettes, second-hand smoke, asbestos, and pollution are all well-known cancer causing agents.

However, many people do not know that radon is actually the first leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers and the second leading cause in smokers.

With November being Radon Action Month, we felt it important to address the lack of awareness around what radon is and its effects on one’s lung health.

Radon is a colourless, tasteless, odorless, and lethal gas. You would never know it is present in your home unless you tested for it.

The best time to test for radon in your home is from October to April, so right now is prime time for testing.

Testing is relatively inexpensive and can be done by either you or a professional. Do-it-yourself radon test kits can be purchased over the phone or internet and are available at some home improvement retailers across Canada.

There is no known level of safe exposure to radon; however, Health Canada recommends homeowners take action if radon levels are 200 Bq/m3 or above. Lung cancer takes the lives of more Canadians than breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer combined.

The risk of developing lung cancer depends on the amount and duration of radon exposure, as well as whether or not you smoke.

Radon is much more likely to cause cancer in those who smoke or have a history of smoking than in life-long non-smokers. However, everyone is still at risk if you are exposed to radon.

As third year nursing students, we were shocked to find out how much of an impact radon has on lung health as well as the prevalence of radon in Canada.

Despite practical experience on Kelowna General Hospital’s cancer ward as well as having learned about cancer and various carcinogens in our nursing program, we have yet to discuss radon.

As future health care providers, it is astonishing that this is the case for us.

It is only through our research in association with the Canadian Cancer Society that we have come to recognize the importance of radon awareness.

We can only imagine the lack of knowledge present in the general population despite having information available.  As members of the community, we believe it is everyone’s responsibility to help spread the word and implement testing in their homes.

We realize it is impossible to expect people to take any action to protect themselves against the harmful effects of radon if they don’t know what it is or the importance of it. As students we are working to raise awareness of radon in the Interior and Kootenay regions, two areas with high radon potential.

It is essential that this information be shared and that the public take it upon themselves to further their knowledge and understanding of radon. Radon affects everyone, and is something we can avoid.

Please, protect your loved ones from the harmful effects of radon by testing your home and ensuring you also do your part in raising awareness. To learn more, visit www.cancer.ca.

Courtney Pankow

and Jackie Girard,

Third Year Nursing Students,

 

UBC Okanagan

 

 

Just Posted

Choir leader’s selfless work wins her Castlegar Citizen of the Year

Christina Nolan has grown the community choir into a strong and vibrant asset for the city

Water main maintenance ongoing in South Castlegar and Blueberry

Project will take two weeks — city says there should not be any service disruptions

Downtown businesses want you to love them this weekend

Third annual event encourages people to shop in their own community.

Police investigating man’s death in Winlaw

Foul play not established, but major crimes unit is investigating

Grand Forks woman assaulted in home invasion

The incident took place Wednesday morning

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

Kootenay man arrested and charged in 2015 murder

Nathaniel Jessup 32 of Creston has been charged with the second-degree murder of Katherine McAdam and offering an indignity to a body.

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parents’ cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

GALLERY: First responders in Fernie return baby owl to its nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

More than half of Canadians support ban on handguns, assault rifles: study

Divide between rural and urban respondents in latest Angus Reid Institute public opinion study

Spring rain needed as B.C. sees one of the lowest snowpack levels in 40 years

Snowpack levels in B.C. recorded on May 15 were similar to those in 2015 and 2016

Theresa May to quit as party leader June 7, sparking race for new PM

The new Conservative leader will become prime minister without the need for a general election

B.C. man who fell off cliff returns there to rescue eagle from vulture attack

Nanaimo’s James Farkas, who broke his hip in a fall, saves eagle on same beach months later

Most Read