Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling revealed Wednesday that he had cancer of the mouth, which he believes to be a result of his chewing tobacco use.
Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling revealed Wednesday that his cancer, which he was diagnosed with in June, is cancer of the mouth, which he believes to be a result of his chewing tobacco use, according to Boston.com.
Schilling announced in June his cancer was in remission, but did not specify the type of cancer or his prognosis. He spoke about it Wednesday during the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon, an event that raises money for cancer care and research.
Schilling said he didn't reveal what type of cancer he had because he didn't want people feeling sorry for him and because he didn't want to get involved with the debate about whether MLB should bar the use of chewing tobacco.
"I'm not going to sit up here from the pedestal and preach about chewing," Schilling said. "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."
Hall of Fame outfielder Tony Gwynn died in June after battling mouth cancer, which he also attributed to his use of chewing tobacco.
Schilling has not yet returned to his job as a television analyst for ESPN, but he did appear at the Red Sox's recent 10-year anniversary celebration of the franchise's 2004 World Series-winning team.
- Ben Estes