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A multifactorial assessment of carcinogenic risks of radon for the population residing in a Russian radon hazard zone

Author(s): Lezhnin Vladimir L. | Polzik Evgeny V. | Kazantsev Vladimir S. | Zhukovsky Mikhail V. | Pakholkina Olga A.

Journal: Archive of Oncology
ISSN 0354-7310

Volume: 19;
Issue: 1-2;
Start page: 3;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: Lung Neoplasms | Risk Factors | Russia | Air Pollution | Indoor | Occupational Exposure

Background: Results of numerous epidemiologic studies of carcinogenic effects of indoor radon conducted in different countries in the past 40 years remain controversial. To assess the contribution of the residential radon exposure in the development of lung cancer in the population of the Russian region with a high radon hazard we conducted a cancer epidemiology study based on a multifactorial analysis. Methods: The study was conducted in the town of Lermontov situated in the area with high background radon concentrations and lung cancer rates of the Caucasian Mineral Water Region of Russia. High indoor radon levels were found in the houses of urban residents, mostly employed by the mining and chemical enterprise. The cohort consisted of 122 lung cancer cases and 208 controls. Each of 330 study participants was characterized by a set of 23 indices reflecting known lung cancer risk factors. We also collected data on occupational and residential radon exposure of all subjects. Results: The analysis of a combined effect of 23 different lung cancer risk factors based on pattern recognition methods showed that the contribution of the non-occupational radon exposure was only about 2% whereas that of the occupational radon exposure equaled 15%. Conclusion: Our findings showed that the effect of the residential radon exposure on the lung cancer rate was 15-20 times weaker than the effects of the main risk factors such as smoking, occupational hazards, chronic lung diseases, social and household factors, etc., although for the population of Lermontov this factor was 2-3 times stronger than that found in the Ural towns of Russia.
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