July 3, 2014 – Smokeless Tobacco Risk


Anchor lead:  Tony Gywnn’s death has brought the risks of smokeless tobacco into the limelight, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Tony Gywnn was a baseball legend, and a peerless ambassador for the sport.  His recent death from mouth cancer, or what is known in medical parlance as ‘oropharyngeal cancer,’ brings the dangers of smokeless tobacco sharply into focus.  William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, lauds Gwynn for his frankness.

Nelson: Smokeless tobacco does increase the risk of cancer in areas that the smokeless tobacco gets near, the mouth, the salivary glands and that region, and it clearly increases the risk.  There really is just not a reason I can think of to use those products, and I think that was a very responsible thing for Tony Gywnn to have done in his life knowing what a role model he was to athletes that are playing now and to young people everywhere who watch and love baseball.  :26

Early detection can effectively treat many oral cancers but clearly avoiding smokeless tobacco products is preferable.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.