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Tony Gwinn, Chewing Tobacco and Oral Cancer

Posted Oct 09 2010 7:00pm

Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn is about to start radiation and chemo for parotid cancer discovered last month. He says the doctors told him “they feel they caught the cancer early and there was not much of it there.” He is also concerned that the cancer could be linked to his career-long practice of using chewing tobacco. “I haven’t discussed that with the doctors yet, but I’m thinking it’s related to dipping,” said Gwynn, who resumed the practice of using chewing tobacco after the first two surgeries.


Malignant Parotid tumors are a drag as the treatment is bigger surgery (usually total Parotid removal) and radiation which can damage the facial nerve leading to a paralyzed half-face. I was surprised to hear he had had two other non-cancerous Parotid tumors in the past and was still dipping. As a baseball legend and coach, hopefully he will use his influence to diminish the practice of dipping on his team. It is very likely that dipping gave him the problem.

Dr D and the family are baseball fans and we are bummed that the Angels did not make the post-season. We wish Tony and his family well in their fight with the disease. It is our hope that he won’t need plastic surgery after his cancer surgery.

Best Regards,

John Di Saia MD

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