Tony Gwynn Having Cancerous Tumor Removed

The former Padres great is having another operation to remove another malignant tumor growing inside his cheek.

In August 2010, doctors found that Tony Gwynn had a cancerous tumor growing around a facial nerve inside his right cheek. They removed most of the tumor, and attempted to kill the rest of it with radiation and chemotherapy. But Gwynn developed a new tumor - the old tumor? - in the same place, so on Tuesday he underwent an operation to remove it.

Tom Friend:

According to Gwynn's wife, Alicia, doctors do not believe the cancer has spread outside of Gwynn's salivary gland. But she expects to know more after Tuesday's intricate surgery, in which she said five doctors will likely perform a nerve graft to preserve Gwynn's facial functions.

What's tricky here is the nerve part. Faces need nerves to do things. Surgeons might have had to remove part of Gwynn's facial nerve, in which case they'd replace it with a nerve from his shoulder or leg. Ideally, Gwynn will come away cancer-free and with a perfectly functional face, but there are significant risks involved. The reason doctors removed only most of Gwynn's tumor in 2010 was because they didn't want to mess with the nerve if they didn't have to.

If all goes well, Gwynn intends to be back coaching with San Diego State in a month. He's blamed an old dipping habit for his health problems, although there's no proof that the two are related. Of course, what matters for Gwynn isn't what caused this anymore - what matters is getting better. We should find out before too long whether Gwynn's operation was a success.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.