Posted by: greg lehmann | 2019/03/09


Can smokeless tobbacco cause throat cancer?

I saw a special on a sports network back in December about the 1966 Detroit Tigers. (I became a Detroit Tigers fan in 1966.We finished 3rd.) But that year the Tigers lost two managers/TO DEATH! One Charlie Dressen had missed about 31/2 months in 1965 due to a serious heart attack AND 6 open heart surgeries! (Ouch!) Then that winter he suffered six bouts of pneumonia pleurisy 3 kidney infections AND a bladder infection! (Ouch AGAIN!) Then six weeks into the season he suffered a massive paralytic stroke! Three months later he died from kidney failure at the age of 70. Then during the All Star break his replacement Bob Swift fell ill with viral pneumonia. But ten days later he was diagnosed with throat cancer! According to some Tigers players and long time Tigers TV announcer Dave Diles Swift's throat cancer was triggered by heavy use of smokeless tobacco! I will not dispute Dave Diles on the smokeless tobacco triggering Swift's throat cancer but can smokeless tobacco actually cause or trigger throat cancer? (Swift died two weeks after the "Season Of Tragedy" ended at the age of 52.)

Expert's Reply


Cancer expert
- 2019/03/14

Dear Greg, both smoking and "smokeless" tobacco (snuff and chewing tobacco) increase the risk of developing cancer in the mouth and/or throat. All forms of smoking are linked to these cancers, including cigarettes, cigars, and pipes. Tobacco smoke can cause cancer anywhere in the mouth and throat as well as in the lungs, the bladder, and many other organs in the body. Pipe smoking is particularly linked with lesions of the lips, where the pipe comes in direct contact with the tissue. Smokeless tobacco (chewing tobacco and snuff) is linked with cancers of the cheeks, gums, and inner surface of the lips. Cancers caused by smokeless tobacco use often begin as leukoplakia or erythroplakia. (MCH).

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