Gutkha & Oral Cancer

Chewing habit of Gutkha, Pan Masala, Pan is widespread throughout the world which leads to Oral Cancer. There are 3095 chemical components in smokeless tobacco products (including gutkha), among them, 28 are proven carcinogens. 

In addition to the cancer of head & neck (cancer of the mouth, cheek, lip, gingiva, nose, sinuses, voice box, thyroid, salivary gland), throat, esophagus, digestive tract cancer or different types of dental disease are rapidly increasing in India.

Even Betel Quid(paan), Areca nut(supari) without tobacco are carcinogenic and cause cancer. Overall, 58% of all head & neck cancer in the world are diagnosed in Asia and In India, it is 30% of all cancers. In India approx 2 lakh new cases are diagnosed every year, of which 80,000 are cancers of the mouth. So, Head and Neck cancer is the most common form of cancer in India.

Gutkha chewing oral cancer

What is Gutkha made of and Why it causes Cancer?

Areca nut ( supari ) is the fourth most common addictive substance in this world. In India, areca nut is consumed in many forms such as pan masala, betel quid(paan), gutka, etc.

Gutka, Pan masala is a dehydrated, nonperishable preparation of areca nut, catechu (called Khair), slaked lime (Calcium oxide and calcium hydroxide), cardamom and many artificial perfuming and flavoring substances.

The different ingredients used in pan and gutka have their own detrimental effects, such as catechu, which consists of tannin and polyphenols, which have a high tendency to cause esophageal cancer.

The lime (calcium hydroxide) used can result in an alkaline pH, triggering ROS release and causing irritation of the oral mucosa and hyperplasia.

Human oral epithelium cells experience carcinogenic and genotoxic effects from the slaked lime present in the betel quid.

Areca nut consists of phenolic compounds, and tobacco releases various nitrosamines in the mouth that are responsible for proliferative abrasions and damage to DNA and fibroblasts.

gutkha causes cancer

What are the side effects of Gutka?

Gutka, Paan, Pan masala chewing can cause cancers of the lip, mouth, tongue, throat(pharynx, larynx), and esophagus, cheek, gingiva, nose, sinus, voice-box, thyroid, oral cancer, renal cancer, digestive tract cancer & different types of dental disease, etc.

Benefits of eating Gutka

Some people look for “benefits of eating gutka”.Gutka, Pan, Pan masala with or without tobacco have no nutritious benefit at all. During chewing gutka, our oral cavity absorbs about 28 carcinogenic agents that cause cancer.

Why do people start Gutka chewing?

In India, areca nut is consumed in many forms such as gutka, pan, pan masala, etc. It has become a part of the lifestyle in many rural, urban areas, and extensively used by young people, school students, and women due to marketing and promotion tactics. Gutka, pan masala are popular due to cheap, easily available.

Some people believe that gutka can help digestion, germ-killing substance, mouth freshener, Also some people start chewing as they want to quit smoking. Somewhere it is a status symbol and part of the culture.

Survey Report in India

According to the survey report, published in Govt. of India website (

  • In every five Indians, more than one uses smokeless tobacco (SLT).
  • The habit of using SLT among men is higher than women.
  • Men over 14 crores & about 6 crore women use SLT in India.


survey report of smokeless tobacco

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