It took five doctors and 14 hours in the operating theatre to successfully remove a cancerous tumor in Gwynn’s right cheek. ESPN’s Tom Friend reported that the doctors were surprised that the tumor had spread. Tom further reported that, “According to Gwynn’s wife, Alicia, the doctors performed a complex nerve graft procedure, removing Gwynn’s facial nerve and replacing it with a nerve from Gwynn’s shoulder. Alicia Gwynn said her husband came out of surgery at 1 a.m. PT Wednesday, and that doctors told her they had entirely removed the cancerous growth from his parotid gland.”
There are numerous factors that can be attributed as a cause of cancer but one of them stands out among the rest. Gwynn has gone on record with his addiction to smokeless tobacco and you don’t need me to tell you how harmful it is. It is the most likely cause of the cancer, especially when you take into account that the cancer was in the main contact area for tobacco – the cheek.
Here is an excerpt from the San Diego Union Tribune from October 2010, the time when the cancer was initially diagnosed:
“I haven’t discussed 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. Dr. Kevin Brumund , a neck and throat specialist at the UCSD Moores Cancer Center, said there have been no studies showing a link between parotid cancer and chewing tobacco. “There is a wide spectrum of prognosis for the malignant parotid carcinomas,” said Dr. Brumund. “Most parotid tumors are benign. And the prognosis runs the spectrum.””
Gwynn is a very lucky man in that his cancer was diagnosed pretty quickly and treated successfully; many are not that lucky. Friends have reported that Gwynn is well on the road to recovery and is now talking, laughing and has even started the intake of water. Gwynn has attributed his cancer directly to dipping and it serves as a caution to each and every person out there who is having problems with addiction. Every athlete in his prime may think that he is invincible hence start dipping on a more regular basis but this is not the case. Please do not be fooled by your peak physical condition and I implore you all to take a good look at your life. You don’t want it wasted just because of a foolish habit that you got into during your teenage years. Be serious about yourselves please.