Former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly will not undergo surgery on Thursday to treat an aggressive, spreading recurrence of cancer, his wife said.
Jill Kelly posted Wednesday on Facebook that "the cancer is in areas that surgery cannot successfully eradicate." She had written on Instagram earlier this week that the plan was for her husband to have surgery in Manhattan.
"Because of complexity and aggressive nature of this cancer and after more scans and tests, the plan has changed," Jill Kelly wrote. "At this point, Jim will not be having surgery ... Therefore, the medical specialists here in NYC along with our Buffalo team believe that chemotherapy and radiation are the best option."
A statement from Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City confirmed that Kelly likely first will be treated with chemotherapy and radiation.
"Jim Kelly's condition remains very treatable and potentially curable," Dr. Peter Costantino said in the statement. "Our immediate focus is on controlling his pain and beginning the process of eradicating the cancer."
Costantino said surgery remains a potential part of the treatment strategy for the cancer that he said is present in Kelly's maxillary sinus and adjacent tissues.
"His cancer returned in a location that requires specialized expertise in the treatment of skull-based tumors," the hospital statement said.
According to reports, Jim Kelly was in and out of hospitals for the past 10 days. The Hall of Famer was diagnosed with upper jaw cancer last June and had surgery to remove part of his jawbone. He subsequently was declared cancer-free without undergoing radiation or chemotherapy.
"If you've dealt with cancer you know that you never really know for sure what each moment will hold," Jill Kelly wrote. "But..Praise God. We are held in the Strong Mighty hands of an Unchanging God. Thank you for your continued prayer support."
Kelly, 54, entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001 after playing from the Bills from 1986 to 1996. He holds most of the franchise passing records.