SAN DIEGO (AP) — Hall of Fame outfielder Tony Gwynn says he has cancer in a salivary gland.
He told The San Diego Union-Tribune the cancer was discovered last month and he faces seven to eight weeks of treatment — radiation five times a week and chemotherapy once a week.
“The doctors have told me they feel they caught the cancer early and there was not much of it there,” he said in a story published Saturday.
The parotid cancer was diagnosed after the former Padres star had a third round of surgery since 1997 to remove a tumor on the parotid gland. The previous procedures found no malignancies.
Gwynn is San Diego State’s baseball coach, and the school confirmed Gwynn’s condition to The Associated Press. Gwynn plans to return to his alma mater, which he has coached since 2003.
“They say this is a slow moving but aggressive form of cancer,” Gwynn said. “I’m going to be aggressive and not slow moving in treating this.”
Gwynn said he was concerned 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.
Dr. Kevin Brumund, a neck and throat specialist at the UCSD Moores Cancer Center, told the newspaper there have been no studies linking parotid cancer and chewing tobacco, which is now banned in minor league baseball.