Bills great Jim Kelly underwent successful surgery this morning and is resting comfortably at Erie County Medical Center, according to the hospital.
Here is the statement released by ECMC’s Thom R. Loree, clinical director of the Head and Neck Surgery Department, and Dr. Maureen Sullivan and Dr. Mark S. Burke:
“At Mr. Kelly’s request, we thank everyone for their concern and well wishes for him and his family. Today, Mr. Kelly underwent a partial maxillectomy to remove a squamous cell carcinoma of the upper gingival caused by chronic irritation at the gum site. He underwent reconstruction with a dental obturator. The surgery went very well.
“We are hopeful for and anticipate a speedy recovery and successful outcome.
“Mr. Kelly is recovering comfortably at this time. He is in the capable care of the great nurses and staff here at ECMC. He will remain here at the hospital until he feels comfortable to go home.”
It remains to be seen whether chemotherapy or radiation treatment will be necessary. Kelly, the Bills Hall of Fame quarterback who helped lead them to four consecutive Super Bowl appearances in the early 1990s, revealed Monday he had been diagnosed with squamous-cell ceancer in his upper jaw bone.
Kelly said doctors told him his prognosis for recovery was good, based on computed tomography scans of his head. Tests showed cancer had not spread to other parts of his body.
Head and neck cancers account for about 3 percent of new cancers in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute. The overall five-year survival rate is above 50 percent, but it’s difficult to make broad generalizations about such cancers, doctors say, because the treatment and prognosis can vary by site and stage.