Jim Kelly has been diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer, just months after having surgery to remove a tumor from his jaw.
The former Buffalo Bills quarterback had surgery this week to relieve pain from the left side of his face and jaw, where his initial surgery took place last year. Doctors said he will have another surgery in two weeks to remove the new occurrence of cancer, followed by five to six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy.
Doctors did not give a prognosis, but did say the recurrence was the same cancer that he fought last year.
The Erie County Medical Center, the Buffalo, N.Y., released a statement Friday about the Hall of Fame quarterback’s treatment, saying:
“Jim Kelly came to ECMC this week for continued testing related to his oral surgery. Unfortunately, it has been determined that his cancer has returned. Our team of head and neck cancer specialists is determining a course of treatment that will allow Mr. Kelly to battle this cancer successfully. Mr. Kelly has asked that you keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers.”
After the surgery last year, in which doctors removed a portion of Kelly’s jaw, the quarterback noted that the recovery would take some time.
“The worst part about my cancer is it’s right here in the area of my mouth … It’s very, very sore, but it takes time,” he said. “I know when you have knee surgery or shoulder surgery it’s sore for a small period of time and rehab and everything is good and you just take your time.”
Jim Kelly played for the Buffalo Bills from 1986 to 1996, leading the team to four consecutive Super Bowls and gaining induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
The Kelly family has battled adversity before. Jim’s son, Hunter, was born with a nervous system disorder called Krabbe disease. Despite a prognosis of just one year to live, Hunter lived past his eighth birthday.
Jim Kelly and his family asked fans to keep him in their thoughts, saying, “We need lots of prayers.”