Konnie Huq will be investigating how women in the UK’s South Asian community are at a high risk of developing mouth cancer as a result of using Gutka, more commonly known as chewing tobacco.
Gutka is currently more popular than ever before in the UK. According to the National Cancer Intelligent Network, who have revealed the first national report into cancer rates within ethnic groups, Asian women are 80 percent more at risk of developing mouth cancer than white women.
Hazel Nunn, a specialist health advisor with Cancer Research told the BBC Asian Network Report that these results were,”Somewhat surprising given that Asian men are more likely than Asian women to smoke”. She went on to explain that smoking is the number one risk factor for oral cancers in terms of the number of cases across the board but that this reports suggests that factors such as chewing tobacco and areca nut are more important than was first thought.
The documentary also features contributions from within the Asian community, including a teenager who claims after seeing his parents using Gutka, he first tried it at 5 years old. Konnie also hears from Rispal Chana, an NHS nurse working for Birmingham’s Stop Smoking Services. She says that many clients have successfully quit cigarettes which is linked to mouth cancer. However, when it comes to chewing tobacco and areca nut, the battle has only just begun. Rispal tells how she has also heard reports of children as young as 11 and 12 regularly chewing paan with areca nut and says that it’s common to see these mixtures sold alongside sweets in local stores.
The ‘Asian Network Reports’ will be broadcast on Monday 26th October at 6pm.