lung cancer

Radon is the second most common cause of lung cancer in the state after smoking, according to the Wyoming Department of Health. Radon is an odorless, colorless, radioactive gas that exists in nature.

"When uranium breaks down in the soil, radon is a by-product, and radon can get into your home through cracks or your plumbing, or any space that allows air to enter your home," said Integrated Cancer Services Program Outreach Coordinator Allie Bain.

The Wyoming Department of Health is encouraging Wyomingites to test the concentration of radon in their homes this winter, because it’s the time of year that houses aren’t well-ventilated, and the cancer-causing gas is more likely to rise up to living areas. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that radon kills about 20,000 people per year. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez spoke with Dr. Wallace Akerley, director of thoracic oncology at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Utah. She started by asking him what radon is, exactly.