Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly,53,will undergo cancer surgery today,June 7,to remove part of his upper right jaw.He has a squamous cell carcinoma,a type of skin cancer that can form in the jaw bone.Surgery is typically indicated when the cancer is discovered at an early stage.
More than 90% of oral cancers are squamous cell carcinomas.Squamous cells are the lining of the throat and mouth.Some of them may become abnormal,or cancerous.
About 80% of oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers are linked to heavy alcohol use;70% are linked to tobacco use,either smoking or chewing tobacco;25% are linked to human papilloma virus,which also causes cervical cancer.Heredity may also be a factor.
Following removal of the tumor,surgical reconstruction of the oral cavity and implanting of a prosthetic device may be required to assist with speaking,chewing and smiling.
Oral cancer screening is painless and may be performed by a dentist as part of a regular dental exam.
Jim Kelly said he is doing his best to keep his spirits up in the face of his diagnosis.So far,there is no evidence the tumour has spread.
Kelly led the Buffalo Bills to four straight Super Bowls from 1991-94,and was a four-time Pro Bowl all star.He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002,as soon as he was eligible.Today he runs a football camp for children and hosts a charity golf tournament every year,which he intends to do this year even with his health condition.
Update:Jim Kelly is recovering comfortably following surgery at Erie County Medical Center,his doctors said in a statement.He underwent a partial maxillectomy,or removal of the jaw bone,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,or prosthetic plate.
The surgery went very well.We are hopeful for and anticipate a speedy recovery and successful outcome,his doctors concluded.