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Kelly got “great news” in hospital visit, doctor says

Kelly got “great news” in hospital visit, doctor says Jim Kelly, shown here talking to The News in May about his cancer, will undergo testing to determine whether any additional treatment is necessary. (James P. McCoy/Buffalo News)


Jim Kelly got “great news” about his cancer treatment when he visited a New York City hospital, a doctor there said this afternoon.

But the doctor at Lenox Hill Hospital added that the Hall of Fame quarterback will undergo further tests to determine whether additional treatment is needed.

“The great news is that upon physical examination, there is no evidence of the cancer,” said Peter Costantino, executive director of the hospital’s New York Head and Neck Institute. “The treatments so far have completely eliminated Mr. Kelly’s pain, and his level of function has essentially returned to normal.”

Kelly will now “undergo a series of tests to determine if any further treatment will be necessary,” Costantino said. “Should treatment be required, it would likely consist of surgery followed by a form of highly focused radiation referred to as Gamma Knife Therapy. It is possible that no further treatment will be required, and the testing over the next week will define this issue.”

Kelly has “no final answers yet” about the success of the treatment he has received for his oral cancer, said the Rev. Richard R. George, who holds the post of shepherding pastor at the Kelly family’s church, the Chapel at CrossPoint in Amherst.

George said he communicated with Kelly on Tuesday, after Kelly was examined at Lenox Hill Hospital. He said Kelly was in generally good spirits after the examination.

“The last we know is there is some encouraging news, but all the results are not in yet. They’ll be giving him some more results from biopsies, possibly next week,” George said. “It’s encouraging, but we don’t have any final answers yet.”

Kelly, 54, who lives in Orchard Park, traveled to the Manhattan hospital Tuesday to have some follow-up tests to check on the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiation treatments has received in recent months. The Hall of Fame quarterback is battling cancer that spread to his maxillary sinus cavity and adjacent tissues.

He previously had cancer surgery in June 2013, when doctors at the Erie County Medical Center removed parts of his jaw and the roof of his mouth. The 2013 surgery was pronounced a success, but cancer returned this year.

The struggles of Kelly and his deeply religious family have received wide publicity, both locally and nationally.

“They have had some tough moments, but their faith is unswerving. Jim’s faith is unswerving,” George said today.

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About the reporters

Vic Carucci returned to The Buffalo News as a Bills beat reporter in September. Carucci covered the Bills for 17 years before joining as a columnist in 1999. Prior to rejoining The News, he spent three years as a senior editor for the Cleveland Browns.

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida.