The overall 5-year survival rate for this particular cancer is reported as ~60-70%; the recurrence rate is 33%. Approximately 50% of these cancers are not picked up prior to advanced stages....so that apparently is a good thing in Kelly's case. If they have found no formal metastasis (spread to other parts of the body), the main question for accurate prognosis will come if following the surgery, the removed segment shows margins that are free of tumor. Patients found to have any none-free resection margins tend to die within 5 years, most within the 1st year. Furthermore, if there is involvement is of the upper jaw sinus (maxillary [cheek] sinus), the prognosis tends to fall to less than 1/2 in all categories. Hopefully, the cancer does not involve the sinus, nor does it lend itself to findings upon final pathology report of non-free margins (left behind cancer) non-resectable cancer.
As a reconstructive surgeon, I have performed my share of maxillary cancer reconstructions. As cure is the goal, radical excision is the rule, with reconstruction typically far from a non-formidable undertaking for both the surgeon and the patient. My prayers go out to Kelly that there are no surprises for the man who I had the privilege of knowing back in the day of the Gamblers.