No surgery for Jim Kelly, hospital calls his cancer “very treatable”

NEW YORK, N.Y. (WIVB) – Jill Kelly stated Wednesday that, after consulting with doctors in NYC and Buffalo, her husband’s surgery will not go ahead, saying it “is not the best option for Jim.”

Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly had been scheduled to undergo surgery at a Manhattan hospital on Thursday for a cancer recurrence. In June 2013, he had part of his jaw and teeth removed when oral cancer was originally found.

Jill said the former Buffalo Bills quarterback will instead undergo chemotherapy. She writes, “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.”

A release from Lenox Hill Hospital says Kelly’s cancer has returned “in a location that requires specialized expertise in the treatment of skull-based tumors.” He will be treated by Dr. Peter Constantino, executive director of the hospital’s New York Head & Neck Institute, who says, “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.”

Dr. Michael Krabak of CCS Oncology says cancer in the head and neck typically stays there, but can spread, even to the brain. In some cases, Dr. Krabak says chemotherapy and radiation can be better than surgery.

“I the surgeon can’t reach the area that’s involved or the surgery may be very debilitating, the combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy can be very effective in treating cancer,” he said. “In general, the head and neck area is a very confined area and when cancers develop in the mouth for example, they can spread, very easily to the adjacent bone or tissues.”

Jim Kelly’s cancer is said to be aggressive in nature and friends have said he is weak and in a lot of pain. His family is asking fans and all of Western New York for prayers as Jim continues his battle.

He will begin chemotherapy and radiation treatment at Lenox Hill Hospital this week. 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.

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