Jim Kelly’s course of treatment can be complex process

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, who underwent surgery for cancer in his upper jaw bone last summer, has had a recurrence of oral cancer.

ECMC released a statement Friday saying the recurrence was found while the Hall of Fame quarterback was in the hospital for a follow-up appointment.

RELATED | Kelly’s former teammates and coach say they know Jim is a fighter who will pull through this

As with so many other forms of cancer, the key to successfully treating head and neck cancers such as squamous cell is often finding it early. Kelly’s original bout of cancer was discovered after Kelly told his dentist that his jaw hurt.

Dr. Kandala Chary, who specializes in head and neck cancers at CCS Oncology, said, “These cancers are often very eminently treatable, in the early stages.”

Kelly had surgery to remove the squamous cell from his mouth and jaw last summer.

“A significant number, in the 70 to 80 percent [range], are curable for Stage 1 and Stage 2. It is the more advanced cancers that often end up coming back,” Dr. Chary said.

ECMC’s Dr. Thom Loree said Friday the hospital’s team of head and neck specialists is working on a course of treatment for Kelly. Dr. Chary says that can be a complex process.

“Because the compartment of the neck and the head, everything around, is made of numerous structures – from soft tissue, muscle, bone, nerves, blood vessels,” he said.

Surgery, Dr. Chary says, is usually the treatment of choice. But in a case such as Jim Kelly’s, where cancer reoccurs after surgery, he says, “it breaches the barrier of our traditional way of thinking, of Stage 1 to Stage 4.

“So it depends upon what kind of prior treatments the patient had – a limited amount of surgery, an extensive amount of surgery, radiation therapy. All of these factors certainly alter and limit the options of treatment that we can possibly render to the patient.”

WIVB.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s