Add former Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Curt Schilling to the list of players who are fighting with the MLB against smokeless tobacco. Schilling said Wednesday that he believes his use of smokeless tobacco led him to be diagnosed by doctors with oral cancer, or cancer in the mouth that required radation and chemotherapy.
Schilling revelead this sad news on WEEI Radio in Boston this morning during WEEI and NESEN’s Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon. This was the first time that he has told his story publicly. He recieved treatment earlier this year for squamous cell carcinorma. The future hall of famer has lost alot of weight, his ability to taste, and smell because of the treatment.
This is what Schilling told the Dennis and Calahan Show during the fund brodcast:
“I’ll go to my grave believing that was why I got what I got,” he said. “Absolutely. No question in my mind about that. … I do believe without a doubt, unquestionably, that chewing is what gave me cancer.”
“I’m not going to sit up here from the pedestal and preach about chewing. I will say this: I did it for about 30 years. It was an addictive habit, I can think about so many times in my life when it was so relaxing to just sit back and have a dip and do whatever. And I lost my sense of smell, my taste buds for the most part, I had gum issues, they bled, all this other stuff. None of it was enough to ever make me quit.”
Dr. Robert Haddard, a medical oncologist for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston sat in with Schilling during the interview and supported Curt’s assement about what caused his cancer:
“One of the well-described and defined risks for oral cancer is smokeless tobacco, which is what we’re talking about here,” Haddad said. “It is not a question mark. This has been shown repeatedly, and the National Cancer Institute clearly makes the case that any form of tobacco is harmful and should not be used.”
Despite knowing this information, Major League Baseball continues to let its players use it, and that has to change. Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn died way to soon after battling cancer of the salivary gland that was believed to be caused by chewing smokeless tobacco.
This is what Commisioner Bud Selig said about the issue with MLB.com during the All Star Break:
“It will be a subject they’ll discuss during the next collective bargaining.” “I understand that individuals have a right to make their own decisions. I hope we’re successful, because the Tony Gwynn story was a heartbreaking, awful story.”
MLB officals might have an issue getting every player to follow that rule, but they have to do something or else this is going to turn into a major crisis.
Schilling announced on twitter in late June that he was in remmision:
As of yesterday I am in remission. Start the 5 year clock!
— Curt Schilling (@gehrig38) June 25, 2014
We hope that Schilling recovers quickly, and that Major League Baseball finally deals with this issue and bans chewing tobacco as soon as possible.