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Chewing paan can ‘directly’ cause oral cancer

Substances in BQ could be changed into carcinogens in the body.

Written by Agencies | Washington |
October 25, 2012 4:17:02 pm

Betel quid or paan – a popular psychoactive substance in India – which contains arcea nut can act as a direct carcinogen,a new study has claimed.

Scientists have known for decades that chewing BQ can lead to oral cancer. Recently,they showed that the substances in BQ could be changed into carcinogens in the body.

Researchers explored whether there were any substances in the arcea nut that can cause cancer directly,without any need for the body to change or “activate” them.

They discovered that compounds in the arcea nut can “alkylate” the genetic material DNA,causing changes that increase the risk of cancer,and they are present in betel quid in amounts high enough to do so.

“Our study showed that these alkylating agents are present at levels sufficient to cause DNA damage and could potentially have adverse implications to human health,particularly in the case of the development of oral cancer for BQ chewers,” researchers said.

The study found that betel quid – the fourth most popular psychoactive substance in the world after tobacco,alcohol and caffeine – exposes its 600 million users to substances that act as direct carcinogens in the mouth.

Researchers Mu-Rong Chao and Chiung-Wen Hu explained that betel quid (BQ) consists of nuts from the arcea tree,sometimes combined with spices,such as cardamom or saffron,and other ingredients.

Available in commercial forms,BQ is popular among people in India,China and other Asian countries,and people of Asian heritage living in the US and other countries.

The study appears in American Chemical Society’s journal Chemical Research in Toxicology. The authors acknowledge funding from the National Science Council,Taiwan.

📣 The above article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional for any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.

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