Radon at Tahoe


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Tahoe Physicians and Radon

To get more physicians at Lake Tahoe involved in radon awareness and to encourage their patients to test their homes for radon, I present here some of the many methods and programs doctors elsewhere are using. It can be as little as adding a question to their health history survey. Also, I encourage all Tahoe physicians to test their own home for radon since over half the homes in South Lake Tahoe are expected to have high radon.


The Iowa Cancer Consortium has published a video on YouTube aimed at physicians and radon. There is a need for health professionals, especially front-line family practicioners, to better understand radon for themselves so they will test their own homes and be a positive role model for their patients.

As Dr. Vermillion says in the video, he was not really trained on radon in medical school and it wasn't until a non-smoking patient presented lung cancer symptoms to him that he decided to look into it closer. In the process of testing her for lung cancer, he decided to test his own home for radon. He found elevated radon levels and had his house fixed and now has added a radon question to his medical history survey.

Watch the video.

It's Official! Medicare Covers Lung Cancer Screening!

Lung Cancer Alliance Directs High Risk to Get Screened at Center of Excellence

Today (2-5-15), Lung Cancer Alliance (LCA) applauds the game-changing move by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) who issued their final decision requiring Medicare coverage of low-dose computed tomography (CT) lung cancer screening for at-risk beneficiaries.

This ruling finalizes a draft decision issued in November 2014 that brings the benefit of screening to approximately five million American seniors, the most at-risk group for lung cancer. This represents close to half of the entire at risk public who fall between the ages of 55 and 77 that would qualify for screening.

“Today is a transformative moment. Lung cancer screening can now stand shoulder to shoulder with mammography, colonoscopy, pap smears and other proven cancer screenings that have saved countless lives,” said Lung Cancer Alliance President and CEO, Laurie Fenton Ambrose. “This signals a new day where lung cancer transitions from the number one cancer killer to a treatable, even curable disease.”

Medicare beneficiaries between the ages of 55 and 77 with a 30 pack year history will be covered. Providers are immediately eligible for reimbursement as permanent codes and levels are finalized.

“Our work now is to ensure those at high risk for lung cancer know about this life saving benefit and have access to screening in high quality settings,” added Fenton Ambrose. “Lung Cancer Alliance has helped establish an ever-expanding nationwide network of hundreds of screening centers providing best practice care safely and responsibly.

For information about risk and where to go to get screened visit: www.lungcanceralliance.org or call 1-800-298-2436.


The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force mentions radon as part of their risk assessment. “Age, total cumulative exposure to tobacco smoke, and years since quitting smoking are the most important risk factors for lung cancer. Other risk factors include specific occupational exposures, radon exposure, family history, and history of pulmonary fibrosis or chronic obstructive lung disease.”

View PDF of the Task Force Recommendations

Lung cancer screening presents a teachable moment to discuss radon exposure since patients are concerned about either having lung cancer or reducing their risk.


Lake Tahoe Newborn Radon Program

Fashioned after the successful Pennsylvania Newborn Radon Program (including logo and even color!), the Lake Tahoe Newborn Radon Program could (if supported by the hospital and community) provide free radon test kit flyers for all parents of newborn babies at Barton Memorial Hospital in South Lake Tahoe. The green cover, stork image, graphs and text encourage new parents to provide a clean and healthy environment for their new child by first testing their home for radon. Free test kits will be provided through a health grant (so far undesignated). When operational, It is hoped that this first (to our knowledge) radon outreach to new parents in California will be taken over and reproduced by the California State Radon Program, similar to Pennsylvania's successful program.

View the Tahoe Newborn Radon Program Page.