In February, former major league pitcher Curt Schilling revealed that he had cancer, without revealing exactly what type of cancer it was. On Wednesday, Schilling said on Boston radio that he had mouth cancer, and that he believes it was caused by his longtime chewing tobacco habit.
Schilling said that doctors diagnosed the cancer — squamous cell carcinoma –in February after he needed treatment on his finger because of a dog bite. While on the way to see the hand doctor, he felt a lump on the side of his neck. That same day, he went to an ear, nose and throat doctor, who performed a biopsy and discovered the cancer.
Steve Silva of Boston.com transcribed Schilling’s appearance on the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon.
I do believe without a doubt, unquestionably that chewing is what gave me cancer and I’m not going to sit up here from the pedestal and preach about chewing. I will say this: I did 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.
Schilling finished his chemotherapy and radiation treatments in June, when he announced on Twitter that he was in remission:
As of yesterday I am in remission. Start the 5 year clock!
— Curt Schilling (@gehrig38) June 25, 2014
According to Neil Ungerleider of WCVB, Schilling sounded weak and hoarse during his radio appearance. Schilling said he had lost 75 pounds during his treatment.
In August 2013, Schilling revealed that he had suffered a heart attack in 2011 “that required surgery to implant a stent in an artery,” Boston.com reported Wednesday.