Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly announced that he’s been diagnosed with cancer of the upper jaw bone, but doctors have told him his prognosis for recovery is very good.
The cancer – squamous-cell carcinoma – is isolated to his upper jaw and has not spread to other parts of his body, Kelly said in a statement issued through the Bills media relations department. Surgery is scheduled for Friday.
“With the excellent medical care that I will be receiving and the loving care of my wife, Jill, and my daughters, Erin and Camryn, and the support of my entire family and friends, I am extremely confident in my road to recovery,” Kelly stated. “I plan to tackle this challenge head-on, as we Kellys always do, with toughness, perseverance and faith.”
“I want to thank everyone who has offered their prayers and would appreciate any prayers said for me and my family moving forward,” he added. “May God continue to bless you and our family.”
Oral squamous-cell carcinoma affects about 30,000 Americans each year, according to the Merck Manual, a well-respected medical textbook. In the U.S., 3 percent of cancers in men and 2 percent in women are oral squamous-cell carcinomas, which mostly occur in people older than 50. Typical treatment includes surgery, radiation or both.
The overall five-year survival rate is above 50 percent, the Merck Manual states.
According to the National Cancer Institute, head and neck cancers usually begin in the squamous cells that line the moist, mucosal surfaces inside the head and neck. Those cancers then are categorized by the area of the head or neck where they begin, including the oral cavity.