Jim Kelly had 'major cyst,' teeth removed earlier this year
June 3, 2013 - 11:20 AM
By Tim Graham
Jim Kelly revealed to an Illinois newspaper nearly three months ago a "major cyst" was removed from his mouth and teeth needed to be extracted this year.
Kelly announced this morning he has cancer in his upper jaw. At an appearance in March for the Central Illinois Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Hall of Fame quarterback gave Jim Ruppert of the State Journal-Register a rundown of recent medical issues and mentioned the earlier mouth operation.
"I've had four major surgeries in the last two years," Kelly said. "Major back surgery, plates and screws in my back two years ago. Five months after that double-hernia surgery. Then 12/12/12 at 12 o'clock I had major neck surgery, where they had to replace three disks in my neck and put a plate and six screws in my neck.
"And then a week and a half ago they found a major cyst from my gums to my nasal cavity, and they had to cut that out -- the size of a nickel -- and they had to pull out all of my front teeth."
I found this more detailed bit of information, that was not revealed in most other reports. This was a cancer that involved the gingiva (gums) and the maxillary sinus. It evidently was not recognized for over 3 months. I am now not surprised that now the surgeons carefully word their prognosis as "We expect a successful OUTCOME" or "We expect a successful RECOVERY" or "The prognosis for RECOVERY is very good" instead of "We expect or are hopeful of a CURE." The reason is very easily explained by the fact that in cases as described for Kelly, even after not initially detecting spread to the neck lymph nodes, ~80% will have developed such now "detectable" spread within 18 months. This is a factor which would significantly worsen the prognosis. I would be very surprised if post operative chemotherapy and/or possible radical neck dissection is not being contemplated. Some would even consider adjunct radiation therapy.
As Thunderkyss aptly put it, I "wouldn't wish that on anybody."
The story gets even worse with the information from this other source. Evidently, delayed diagnosis was not 3 months, but ~6 months, with the initial thinking that it was simply an infection.
Kelly’s diagnosis stems from pain he began experiencing in his jaw in December. He initially thought it was an infection, but grew concerned when antibiotics failed to help.
Tests eventually led to doctors removing a nickel-sized cyst from his gums and nasal cavity during an operation in early March. Follow-up tests revealed the cancer.