Jim Kelly won’t have surgery, will have chemo and radiation instead


Jim Kelly and his daughter, Camryn, rest in a New York hospital. (AP Photo / Jill Kelly)

Doctors have changed their plan of attack on Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly’s oral cancer, calling off his surgery and choosing to focus on chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Jill Kelly, who wrote earlier this week on her blog that surgery in New York City was planned for Thursday because cancer that was diagnosed last spring was “back, aggressive and starting to spread,” wrote Wednesday on Facebook “the cancer is in areas that surgery cannot successfully eradicate.”

Along with a photo of Kelly hugging his father, Jill Kelly wrote:

At this point and time surgery is not the best option for Jim.

Because of complexity and aggressive nature of this cancer and after more scans and tests, the plan has changed. At this point, Jim will not be having surgery. The cancer is in areas that surgery cannot successfully eradicate. Therefore, the medical specialists here in NYC along with our Buffalo team believe that chemotherapy and radiation are the best option.

If you’ve dealt with cancer you know that you never really know for sure what each moment will hold.

In a press release, Lenox Hill Hospital added that Kelly’s cancer is “in a location that requires specialized expertise in the treatment of skull-based tumors.” Dr. Peter Constantino, executive director of the hospital’s New York Head and Neck Institute, said in the release that “Jim Kelly’s condition remains very treatable and potentially curable. Our immediate focus is on controlling his pain and beginning the process of eradicating the cancer.”

Kelly, 54, underwent surgery on his upper jaw early last June and said he was cancer-free several weeks later. Since the recurrence of his cancer was announced, there has been an outpouring of support from former teammates, present NFL players and fans. In response, his wife and daughter, Erin, have posted touching updates and photos as well as messages of their faith.

“Thank you for your continued prayer support,” Jill Kelly wrote. “I will share updates as we move forward — ready for this battle waged against us. If God is for us.who can be against us!”

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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