By Josh Sanchez
April 09, 2014

Jim Kelly completes first round of chemotherapy Doctors say that Jim Kelly's second bout of cancer is 'very treatable and potentially curable.' (Frank Franklin II/AP)

Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly is currently in one of the toughest fights of his life, as he begins treatment to get rid of microscopic tumors on the infraorbital nerve that runs from the lip to the eyelids. Kelly's treatment was initially postponed due to a fever, but he began the treatment this week. 

Kelly's wife, Jill, took to social media to announce that Kelly completed his first round of chemotherapy on Tuesday night.

Kelly will continue to undergo daily radiation treatments and will have more chemotherapy treatments over the course of the next six weeks.

Kelly was first diagnosed on June 3, 2013 with squamous cell carcinoma, and his surgery to remove it from his upper jaw was considered a success. The cancer returned earlier this year, as Peter King detailed over at The MMQB.

It’s a complex cancer. There’s not a big tumor in his head, but rather countless microscopic ones. That’s probably a major reason why the cancer was tough to diagnose when it returned. Kelly was having headaches—“massive headaches and migraines”—and doctors thought it might stem from problems with the teeth that remained after the jaw surgery last June. He had six root canals on the left side of his mouth in the months after the surgery. But still the pain, the headaches, remained. “The pain became a blessing,” said Jill Kelly. Without the pain, doctors might not have been as aggressive in searching for the pain’s root cause. And because Kelly has a long history of clamming up about his pain, doctors took notice when he said his head was really hurting him.

After a while this winter, Jim Kelly knew there was something amiss. And further scans this month showed the little spots of cancer, many of them riding up the nerve leading to his brain.


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