June 03, 2013

Former Bills QB Jim Kelly Diagnosed with Jaw Cancer

Image from Wikipedia
Former QB for the Buffalo Bills, Jim Kelly, announced that he has a squamous cell carcinoma of his upper jawbone.

He had been experiencing jaw pain since Dec 2012. When the pain failed to resolve with antibiotics, follow-up testing which probably included a CT scan revealed a cystic mass of the maxillary bone. Removal of this nickel-sized cyst in March 2013 revealed cancer.

Additional testing reported by Jim Kelly showed that the cancer has not spread elsewhere. Such testing may have included bloodwork and a PET/CT scan.

This Friday, a complete cancer resection operation will be performed. Given what information was provided, he will likely have his maxillary bone removed along with a rim of soft tissue until no pathological evidence for cancer is present. A limited neck dissection which entails removal of all the lymph nodes in the neck may also be performed.

Of course, after removal of his upper jawbone, there will be a big hole present. As such, he will likely also undergo simultaneous reconstruction to replace what was removed. Bone, muscle, and soft tissue will likely be obtained from either the leg or arm to reconstruct Mr. Kelly's jawbone.

It is also not unusual to have a feeding tube placed for some time to allow healing before oral intake is allowed.

This operation takes a LONG time... typically anywhere from 4-12+ hours depending on what is found during the operation.

Depending on final pathology which may take up to one week for results, Mr. Kelly may need to undergo further cancer treatment with radiation therapy with or without chemotherapy.

I wish him the best of luck!

Former Bills QB Kelly battling cancer of the jaw. Boston.com 6/3/13
Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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