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South Asian J Cancer. 2020 Jan-Mar;9(1):17-19. doi: 10.4103/sajc.sajc_40_19.

Oral smokeless tobacco consumption pattern among rural Indian cancer patients: A prospective survey.

Author information

Department of Medical Oncology, State Cancer Institute, Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Patna, Bihar, India.
Department of Medical Oncology, Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Patna, Bihar, India.



Oral tobacco consumption predisposes to cancer. The pattern of its use in rural Indian cancer patients is unknown.


The aim of this study is to estimate the prevalence of oral tobacco consumption in cancer patients.


To identify oral tobacco consumption pattern with respect to demographic variables and clinical profiles in adult Indian rural cancer patients.

Materials and Methods:

All consecutive individual adult (age >18 years) patients diagnosed with any cancer and registered in the Medical Oncology Outpatient department were enrolled for questionnaire-based survey on oral tobacco consumption between July 2017 and October 2017. Demographic variables were also recorded, including income, education, and occupation. Frequency distribution and cross-tabulation were used for statistical analysis using SPSS version 17.


Of 517 cancer patients enrolled, 456 (88%) were rural. 230/517 (44%) consumed several forms of oral tobacco. Out of 230, 179 (78%) of them had dried tobacco leaves, whereas 23 (10%) and 26 (11%) had Gutkha and pan (betel leaves) alone, respectively. 63 (27%) consumed tobacco leaves and gutkha both. 163 (91%) of tobacco chewers were male, whereas 65% of pan chewers were male and 35% of females. About 48% of tobacco chewers were addicted since >20 years, whereas 13% started in the past 5 years. 47/179 (26%) of tobacco chewers were illiterate, whereas 13/179 (7.2%) were graduates. 106 (59%) had monthly income of between Rs. 5000-10,000. 57 (32%) and 40 (22%) were farmers and laborers, respectively. 25/215 (12%) housewives were addicted. 41/58 (70%) of the head-and-neck cancer patients consumed tobacco products, where 29/41 (70%) used dried tobacco leaves to chew.


More than 40% of adult Indian rural cancer patients consume oral smokeless tobacco products. Dried tobacco leaves are the most common form of smokeless tobacco consumed.


Bihar; cancer; smokeless tobacco

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