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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It can’t be seen or smelled, but doctor say it can make people very sick.

Radon is believed to be the eight-leading cause of cancer in the United States. Leaders in the metro are working with the Environmental Protection Agency to spread awareness about “the silent killer.”

Michelle Hills and Kristi Wells-Freeman, who’ve both survived stage four lung cancer, emphasize more needs to be done about radon detection. Neither Hills or Wells-Freeman are smokers, yet since 2018, both were diagnosed with lung cancer.

Since their respective diagnosis, both of them said their homes have tested positive for high levels of radon gas. That odorless, colorless gas is said to be the leading cause of cancer for non-smokers in the United States.

“The most frequent question I got was — I didn’t know that you smoked. It’s a really isolating experience. I was really surprised to learn there was no support mechanism for never-smoking lung cancer,” Hills said on Wednesday.

“Whoever I meet, especially if we’re talking about anything of significance, I tell them “get your home tested.” If you haven’t gotten your home tested, get your home tested. It’s easy to do. You can call a company to come do it. You can buy a kit on Amazon or your local hardware store,” Wells-Freeman added.

The EPA reports cancer caused by radon gas claims 21,000 lives every year. On Wednesday, EPA organizers joined mayors from Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas, pledging to post informative posters in municipal buildings and spread awareness about radon gas in homes.

Statistics from the EPA show one out of every 15 homes tests high for radon gas, and in Kansas and Missouri, its one out of four.

A simple detection kit, which comes at an affordable price, can be used to detect radon gas in a home. The E-P-A also hopes to remind doctors to ask about high radon levels when they’re talking with patients about cancer.

“The cost of remediation isn’t huge — a thousand to two thousand dollars,: Bruce Snead, who leads the engineering extension program at Kansas State University, said. “Many times, people get to stage four before it’s detected — when a cough is so persistent — or there’s blood in the cough that really reveals something seriously wrong.”