Former baseball great Curt Schilling has recently revealed that he has been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, which is cancer of the mouth. Even though there is no direct correlation yet, Schilling is convinced that chewing tobacco is responsible for his cancer.
“I’ll go to my grave believing that was why I got what I got… absolutely, no question in my mind about that,” Schilling said, according to The Boston Globe.
“I did (chewing tobacco) for about 30 years. It was an addictive habit. I can think of 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. The pain that I was in going through this treatment, the second or third day it was the only thing in my life that had that I wish I could go back and never have dipped. Not once. It was so painful.”
It was known back in February that Schilling was getting treatment for cancer, although details were scarce. Thankfully, the three-time World Series champion announced in June that his cancer was in remission.
One of the main reasons why Schilling did not reveal earlier what type of cancer he was diagnosed with was because he did not want to be the center of the hot topic of chewing tobacco in MLB debate.
As of right now, baseball is working hard to limit chewing tobacco in today’s game. Players cannot have tins on their person while in the field, and they also cannot be consuming tobacco while conducting interviews. In fact, do not be surprised if newly minted MLB commissioner Rob Manfred will be responsible for outlawing chewing tobacco all together.
Hopefully, Schilling stepping forward will allow other players to see the dangers of consuming chewing tobacco. Even though he has stated there were plenty of reasons why he enjoyed doing it, it simply is not worth it in the end.