Schilling: I got cancer from chewing tobacco

Posted: August 22, 2014

SIX MONTHS ago Curt Schilling announced he had cancer.

Yesterday, he said he's suffering from cancer of the mouth and revealed what he believes is the cause:

Chewing tobacco.

"I'll go to my grave believing that was why I got what I got," he told WEEI-FM in Boston. "Absolutely. No question in my mind about that . . . I do believe without a doubt, unquestionably, that chewing is what gave me cancer."

Schilling said the cancer is in remission. He has, however, lost 75 pounds because he can't swallow. He said he has also lost his sense of taste and smell.

"I'm not going to sit up here from the pedestal and preach about chewing," he said. "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.

"Even though I've seen and talked to people who had half a face, who lost their bottom jaw, who lost all their teeth . . . At some point you just stop thinking about it. Because I never said, 'That won't be me.' It's everybody, if you do it. It's a by-product of chewing tobacco. If you chew tobacco, you're going to find yourself with some sort of cancer, if you don't die another way."

Schilling got to the World Series with the Phillies in 1993 and won it all with the Diamondbacks (2001) and Red Sox ('04, '07). Of course, the image everybody remembers is the bloody sock when he pitched on an injured right ankle in Game 6 against the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS.

Apparently, the pain he felt on the mound that night was nothing compared to what he has experienced in his cancer treatments.

"I can't fathom . . . if this happened again, I'm not sure if I would go through treatment again, it was that painful," he said.

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