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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Curt Schilling Reveals He Was Diagnosed With Mouth Cancer in February, Believes Chewing Tobacco Was the Cause

Get better Curt.

Curt Schilling, the former Red Sox pitcher and ESPN analyst, announced today during the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon that he was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma—which is cancer in the mouth—in February….

“I didn’t talk about it for two reasons. No. 1, I didn’t want to get into the chewing tobacco debate, which I knew was going to come about, which to me, I’ll go to my grave believing that was why I got what I got… absolutely, no question in my mind about that. And the second thing was I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me. I didn’t want the pity or any of that stuff because early on… I ended up spending about six months in the hospital because I had a bad reaction. I had a staph infection. I had what’s called C. diff. I had a couple different problems and there was a week there, there’s a week of my life I don’t remember while I was in the hospital going through this.

“The second or third day—I got chemo and radiation for seven weeks—and I came back to the room and my family was sitting there and I thought, ‘You know what, this could be so much worse. It could be one of my kids, it’s not. I’m the one guy in my family that can handle this,’ and so from that perspective it never, ever said ‘Why me? And I never will. 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.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 20, 2014 at 03:12 PM | 41 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cancer, curt schilling, red sox

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   1. Karl from NY Posted: August 20, 2014 at 05:15 PM (#4775683)
Is that right, Schilling was hospitalized for six months? Guess that's why everything has been real quiet from him since the 38 Studios thing.
   2. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 20, 2014 at 05:28 PM (#4775698)
That's brutal news, and I hope against hope that he'll be able to recover and not wind up like Bill Tuttle.
   3. Zach Posted: August 20, 2014 at 06:22 PM (#4775740)
Shilling's not having quite the retirement he was hoping for, is he? Here's hoping his luck turns around.
   4. shoewizard Posted: August 20, 2014 at 06:53 PM (#4775767)
Guy should be in the HOF on his pitching merits.

Hope he continues his recovery.

That is all
   5. shoewizard Posted: August 20, 2014 at 07:13 PM (#4775790)
Ok, well not all

Tied for 7th most seasons 4 or more WAA He has 7 such seasons

or if I want to get tricky about selective begin and end points, Tied for 8th wth 3.5 WAA with 9 such seasons.

10th all time in WAA with 54

Throw in his postseason record and terrific moments and narrative, and I just really don't understand how 75% of the voters don't see him for the first ballot Hall of Famer he is. It's just absurd.




   6. God Posted: August 20, 2014 at 07:21 PM (#4775799)
This is very sad and I wish Schilling a speedy and complete recovery.

However, it's ironic in that "mouth" and "cancer" were possibly the two words most often associated with Schilling during his playing career, long before the disease.
   7. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: August 20, 2014 at 07:24 PM (#4775804)
Yep, Schill belongs in the HOF. 3000+ K's still goes a long way with the MSM, that will really help.

Does verbal diarrhea cause oral cancer?

Ok, Ok, so it's inappropriate. I actually like Schilling and his blowhard mannerisms. Dude is a character and baseball needs more characters.

   8. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: August 20, 2014 at 07:30 PM (#4775815)
I didn't think I could respect the man less, but then he goes and remains silent during the whole Tony Gwynn thing. He could have saved lives, and put another face on it. Instead, "No. 1, I didn’t want to get into the chewing tobacco debate, which I knew was going to come about, which to me, I’ll go to my grave believing that was why I got what I got… absolutely, no question in my mind about that."...what? What the #### is that?

He didn't want people feeling sorry for him? Then why did he announce he had unspecified cancer six months ago? Everyone knew he had cancer. They didn't know he had cancer caused by chewing tobacco, the biggest health threat in baseball today.

A grandstanding idiot.
   9. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: August 20, 2014 at 07:41 PM (#4775822)
I liked Clay Buchholz's assertion that since cancer runs in his family, he's probably going to get it anyway so there's no problem with chewing.

I suspect Schilling's is going to be either one of the most awkward death threads in BTF history or one of the most violent, one or the other, when the time comes.
   10. dr. scott Posted: August 20, 2014 at 07:47 PM (#4775829)
A grandstanding idiot.


Human beings are not rational logical machines, yet we constantly require perfect rationalizations for all actions. There may be some issues with his particular rationalization for why he was silent, but when you are going through the stuff he did in the hospital for 6 months emotions are going to be much powerful than logic... Ill give him some slack... I would not be surprised if his actually answer to why he didn't say anything was that he really didn't know, and that this particular statement is incomplete as he is still trying to figure it out for himself.
   11. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: August 20, 2014 at 07:48 PM (#4775831)
I mean, I saw him walk across the grass at Fenway Park in May, so, I mean, six months or so.
   12. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: August 20, 2014 at 07:51 PM (#4775837)
Look, I wish him nothing but the best of health. But possibly the greatest baseball player of the past ~40 years died of oral cancer in the middle of his treatment for oral cancer, and both were caused by something that is currently taking the health of thousands of baseball players worldwide, and he said nothing at the time.

I have a hard time with that silence.
   13. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: August 20, 2014 at 07:54 PM (#4775839)
Wait, when did Barry Bonds die? Was it while I was on vacation?
   14. God Posted: August 20, 2014 at 07:54 PM (#4775840)
I think the amount of publicity a person wants to draw to his illness is his business and not anyone else's.
   15. flournoy Posted: August 20, 2014 at 08:13 PM (#4775864)
Yikes. Fly's assertions here aren't even in the right ZIP code.
   16. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: August 20, 2014 at 08:31 PM (#4775877)
I'm guessing if, while Gwynn was dying, Schilling had announced "Hey guys, I have cancer too! And mine's actually linked to chewing tobacco! Look at me!" it would have gone over very poorly.
   17. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: August 20, 2014 at 08:42 PM (#4775884)

I'm guessing if, while Gwynn was dying, Schilling had announced "Hey guys, I have cancer too! And mine's actually linked to chewing tobacco! Look at me!" it would have gone over very poorly.


That's what I was thinking.

OTOH, it's been too long since we've had a good dose of Fly's subtle commentary.
   18. frannyzoo Posted: August 20, 2014 at 08:43 PM (#4775886)
Unfortunately, BTF tends to have an instant OTP:Politics reaction to anything regarding Schilling. Unfortunate. Politically, I have zero in common with Curt Schilling. I've never been a fan of the teams he played for. I have zero "investment" in Mr. Schilling. Nevertheless, I must say the BTF reaction toward him is beyond the pale. Dude has cancer. Lighten up. You don't agree with him, you don't think he's worthy of the HOF, fine. Still, lighten up, folks. Lighten up. Just lighten up.
   19. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: August 20, 2014 at 09:22 PM (#4775925)
Franny, who are you talking to? The only person being negative is Fly, though he's so over the top maybe it makes up for the rest of us.



   20. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: August 20, 2014 at 09:25 PM (#4775927)
Woah woah woah. He's worthy of the HOF. The man's a legend. He's just a grandstanding idiot, too.
   21. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: August 20, 2014 at 10:03 PM (#4775954)
Unfortunately, BTF tends to have an instant OTP:Politics reaction to anything regarding Schilling. Unfortunate. Politically, I have zero in common with Curt Schilling. I've never been a fan of the teams he played for. I have zero "investment" in Mr. Schilling. Nevertheless, I must say the BTF reaction toward him is beyond the pale. Dude has cancer. Lighten up. You don't agree with him, you don't think he's worthy of the HOF, fine. Still, lighten up, folks. Lighten up. Just lighten up.


People talk about politics with Schilling because pretty much everyone agrees he should be in the HOF. What's the point of debating something if no one is defending the counter point?
   22. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: August 20, 2014 at 10:08 PM (#4775959)
Look, I wish him nothing but the best of health. But possibly the greatest baseball player of the past ~40 years died of oral cancer in the middle of his treatment for oral cancer, and both were caused by something that is currently taking the health of thousands of baseball players worldwide, and he said nothing at the time.


I thought Gwynn's specific cancer was NOT necessarily from tobacco. Obviously tobacco has a negative health effect overall, and is probably responsible for a lot (most?) throat/jaw/mouth cancers, isn't there pretty much no evidence of tobacco causing Gwynn's specific cancer?
   23. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 20, 2014 at 10:28 PM (#4775988)
grandstanding
That word does not mean what you think it means.
   24. frannyzoo Posted: August 20, 2014 at 10:31 PM (#4775992)
Perhaps I'm thinking more of post #122 versus #22 in this thread. Who knows where it might by then. For previous examples of knee-jerk Schilling loathing, might I submit this and this and this?
   25. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 20, 2014 at 10:31 PM (#4775993)
We're just gonna let "possibly the greatest baseball player of the past ~40 years" slide?
   26. Guapo Posted: August 20, 2014 at 10:46 PM (#4776010)
Interesting:

Published: April 26, 1998

A 15-year-old Curt Schilling was devouring lunch at Shadow Mountain High School in Phoenix one afternoon when a friend dared him to try some smokeless tobacco for dessert. Schilling was a fastball-pumping pitcher and a maverick, so the challenge was really no challenge. Of course he would do it.

Schilling dipped his fingers into the moist tin of tobacco, placed some between his gums and lower lip and felt that dizzying rush that all first-time users experience. He liked it. Soon, he loved it. He kept doing it for 16 years while he developed into one of the premier pitchers in baseball. But six weeks ago, a dentist who was examining Schilling told him he should undergo a diagnostic biopsy. The dentist said Schilling might have cancer.

''I was terrified,'' Schilling said. ''Just terrified.''

This spring, 141 baseball players volunteered for screening by Dr. John C. Greene, the oral cancer specialist for Health America's National Spit Tobacco Education Program. Greene found that 83 had at least one tobacco-related oral lesion and recommended biopsies for 15 of them. Schilling was the only one who publicized his biopsy results...

...On March 17, doctors told Schilling that he had dysplasia, a condition in which the cells become disorganized -- the stage before malignancy. Schilling, who had a two-inch white lesion across his lower gums because he usually put tobacco there 10 times a day, had to find a way to stop. Immediately.

''Yes, I think by having the exam Curt potentially saved his life,'' said Greene, a former United States deputy surgeon general. ''There's a good probability that if he continued, it would have led to cancer.''

The tobacco industry takes issue with that. Alan Hilburg, a spokesman for the Smokeless Tobacco Council lobby in Washington, says it is unfair to automatically link tobacco use with cancer. ''It has not been scientifically established that smokeless tobacco causes adverse medical effects,'' Hilburg said. ''Clearly, there's a controversy over tobacco. Clearly, it's not as conclusive as some people want to think.''

But the biopsy and the chilling diagnosis was convincing enough to make Schilling finally stop.

''I want to be a great husband and a great father, with a full face,'' said Schilling, who is married with two children. ''I've seen people who've had half their heads taken off because of this stuff, and that didn't stop me. The thought of losing my family almost made it easy, as easy as it could possibly be, to quit.''

Quitting was not really easy, though; he had tried to stop before and had endured headaches and insomnia. The five powerful starts he has made this season are the first of his 13-year career in which he did not chew tobacco on the day he pitched....

...Schilling had plenty of reasons to quit. He had seen Pete Harnisch, his friend and former teammate with the Orioles and the Astros, struggle mightily while trying to give it up last season with the Mets. Schilling had been embarrassed when Gehrig, his 2 1/2-year-old son, told him that his breath stunk, and when his wife, Shonda, groused about finding cups filled with spit in the house.

Still, Schilling dipped. Even after having watched his father, Cliff, a heavy smoker, get lung cancer and die of an aortic aneurysm 10 years ago. Even though he left a ticket for his father and an empty seat beside Shonda for each of his starts, Schilling continued to dip. Why?

''It was always a 'not me' thing,'' he said. ''That's the way I think it is with everyone who dips. You hear the argument that my father did it until he was 80 and my grandfather did it until he was 100. That's perfectly valid. They might have, but the odds are that you won't do it that long.''

Harnisch spoke with Schilling about the addiction last year, but had no advice because he approached it blindly. After starting to use tobacco during his freshman year at Fordham University, in 1985, Harnisch had severe difficulties when he tried to quit at the start of the 1997 season. He feels it helped trigger a chemical imbalance that led to depression and caused him to miss most of the season.

''Curt's got people helping him, and he's doing it on a gradual basis,'' said Harnisch, now with the Cincinnati Reds. ''I didn't know what I was up against. I didn't bother asking for help.''

The education program counseled Schilling on setting a quit date, obtaining support from his family and teammates and using a six-week nicotine patch...

...Jeff Cooper, the Phillies' trainer and a reformed dipper, has monitored Schilling the way a mother monitors a 2-year-old at a busy playground. He weaned Schilling off the nicotine patch in three weeks.

''He made the right decision because he knew this would drastically alter his life,'' Cooper said. ''I don't want to find out if he can be a cancer survivor.''

Neither does Schilling. His sense of smell and taste have returned after a decade, and his gums no longer bleed, although he is coping with high blood pressure and a slightly murky future.

''I could have gotten cancer when I was 24, died and never had a wife or kids,'' he said. ''I'm lucky I'm 31 and, right now, I'm O.K. physically. There's still a chance. Until this heals completely, I'm not scot-free.''...

...The urge to dip still comes to Schilling. He estimated that they last about 90 seconds. While he had 40 such cravings in the first day after quitting, he said proudly that he had only three last week.

He acknowledges that when he sees teammates sitting near him chewing tobacco, he feels the temptation to do it again, but he is confident he will not give in.

''I've been in situations that were bad enough already for me emotionally and where I would have loved to have one,'' he said. ''I'm not going to want one any more than I do right now. I can guarantee you that I won't reach for it.''


Link
   27. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: August 20, 2014 at 11:33 PM (#4776045)
I thought Gwynn's specific cancer was NOT necessarily from tobacco. Obviously tobacco has a negative health effect overall, and is probably responsible for a lot (most?) throat/jaw/mouth cancers, isn't there pretty much no evidence of tobacco causing Gwynn's specific cancer?

Yeah, they haven't found any link between that specific cancer and tobacco. Other oral cancers, yes. Even the head-and-neck specialist that was on Gwynn's medical team said a link was unlikely.

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/jun/16/tony-gwynn-parotid-cancer-death/

Tragic of course and a habit I find super-gross, but accuracy is always important!
   28. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: August 20, 2014 at 11:35 PM (#4776047)
We're just gonna let "possibly the greatest baseball player of the past ~40 years" slide?


Well yeah, because the absurdity of the claim doesn't really merit a response.

   29. Rusty Priske Posted: August 21, 2014 at 09:56 AM (#4776197)
I think the amount of publicity a person wants to draw to his illness is his business and not anyone else's.


This... this...THIS!!!

Giving Schilling grief about how he handles HIMSELF having Cancer is just really, really low.
   30. Cargo Cultist Posted: August 21, 2014 at 10:54 AM (#4776257)
A grandstanding idiot


Actually he's anything but that. You may have got that impression watching television, but it is simply not true.
   31. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 21, 2014 at 11:16 AM (#4776279)
<blockqutote>
We're just gonna let "possibly the greatest baseball player of the past ~40 years" slide?</blockquote>

He said "possibly." Its possible Barry Bonds eventually dies of oral cancer.
   32. Karl from NY Posted: August 21, 2014 at 01:34 PM (#4776409)
Throw in his postseason record and terrific moments and narrative, and I just really don't understand how 75% of the voters don't see him for the first ballot Hall of Famer he is. It's just absurd.

It's the Wins. 216 isn't enough. Brown and Wells with more are firmly out. He's perceived as a short career player. He (along with all pitchers) doesn't get a proper adjustment for playing in the sillyball era with historically high rates of no-decisions. He doesn't get credit for his historically unique UER prevention. His W/L% is nothing special, many ranks below Pettitte and Mussina and even Wells, thanks to those years on crappy Philly teams. He's even losing out on postseason credit thanks to Ortiz in 2013 taking over the clutch legend and gobbling up the credit.

He belongs and enough voters should see it eventually once Unit and Pedro clear the ballot, but there's certainly more than 25% against him at the moment. Mussina hanging around on the ballot is a problem though. They won't want to vote in 216 wins with 270 there. You have to be Pedro to get in on that.
   33. Bug Selig Posted: August 21, 2014 at 03:33 PM (#4776510)
He could have saved lives,


Do you really believe that?
   34. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: August 21, 2014 at 07:36 PM (#4776706)
Yes.
   35. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: August 21, 2014 at 08:03 PM (#4776714)
I have a follow up question for you, Fly. Do you really believe that Tony Gwynn might be the best baseball player of the past 40 years?
   36. Win Big Stein's Money Posted: August 21, 2014 at 08:48 PM (#4776755)
I also have a follow up, where do you get your supply of drugs and how are they able to cut the product so pure?
   37. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: August 21, 2014 at 08:49 PM (#4776757)
I think that someone wouldn't be stupid for suggesting it, and I wanted to err on the positive side for a man everyone loves who just died tragically young.

Do I think he's the best? No. Pedro is. Manny is #2. But do I think a Padres fan who thought otherwise is an idiot? No.
   38. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: August 21, 2014 at 09:28 PM (#4776788)
Look, I wish him nothing but the best of health. But possibly the greatest baseball player of the past ~40 years died of oral cancer in the middle of his treatment for oral cancer, and both were caused by something that is currently taking the health of thousands of baseball players worldwide, and he said nothing at the time.

I have a hard time with that silence.


For better or for worse, chewing tobacco is a legal product to buy and use in America.

Your ire should be directed towards Tony Clark and the Major League Baseball Players Association, an organization which Curt Shilling is no longer a member of. If you want to let them know your feelings on this issue, you can send them an e-mail at feedback@mlbpa.org.
   39. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: August 21, 2014 at 09:50 PM (#4776795)
Yeah, I think we can all agree that Tony Clark's tenure as surgeon general has been a great disappointment. Thanks, Obama.
   40. PreservedFish Posted: August 22, 2014 at 01:58 AM (#4776865)
Is Fly's thing in this thread an act?
   41. MuttsIdolCochrane Posted: August 22, 2014 at 06:33 AM (#4776878)
"Do I think he's the best? No. Pedro is. Manny is #2." Of course it's an act. Why not just call Varitek #3? There's not one aspect of the game that Manny ever was better than Barry at except being proven that he intentionally loaded himself up with those beautiful PEDs. Not one. And as great as Pedro was......Maddux.

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