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Design Issues in Studies of Radon and Lung Cancer: Implications of the Joint Effect of Smoking and Radon

Mark Upfal, George Divine and Jack Siemiatycki
Environmental Health Perspectives
Vol. 103, No. 1 (Jan., 1995), pp. 58-63
DOI: 10.2307/3432257
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3432257
Page Count: 6
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Abstract

Many case-control studies have been undertaken to assess whether and to what extent residential radon exposure is a risk factor for lung cancer. Nearly all these studies have been conducted in populations including smokers and nonsmokers. In this paper, we show that, depending on the nature of the joint effect of radon and tobacco on lung cancer risk, it may be very difficult to detect a main effect due to radon in mixed smoking and nonsmoking populations. If the joint effect is closer to additive than multiplicative, the most cost-effective way to achieve adequate statistical power may be to conduct a study among never-smokers. Because the underlying joint effect is unknown, and because many studies have been carried out among mixed smoker and nonsmoker populations, it would be desirable to conduct some studies with adequate power among never-smokers only.

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