Boy to Have Biopsy on 'Frank' the Tumor
By ROBERT JABLON, Associated Press Writer
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - A 9-year-old boy who nicknamed his brain tumor "Frank" after Frankenstein's monster and whose mother launched an online auction to help pay medical bills will have an operation Wednesday to see if the tumor is still malignant.
"I'm scared a little," David Dingman-Grover of Sterling, Va., said during a Tuesday news conference at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, where he and his mother are staying for free.
If the tumor is malignant, David could face more chemotherapy or surgery.
The boy was diagnosed in 2003 with embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma. A grapefruit-sized tumor was impinging on his optic nerves and carotid arteries, causing blindness and headaches.
The size and location of the tumor made it impossible for doctors to take out, according to his mother's ad on eBay
Chemotherapy and radiation shrank it to the size of a peach pit, restoring his vision, but there were side-effects. For a while he couldn't walk or eat and had to be fed through a tube, his mother said.
David was scheduled to have a biopsy Wednesday using a relatively new procedure. A fiber-optic tube will be inserted in his nose and threaded to the tumor so cells can be removed and tested, said Dr. Hrayr Shahinian of the Skull Base Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
"If the tumor is dead, that is the best news that we can have. That's what we're praying for," said Shahinian, who agreed to do the surgery for free.
The usual biopsy procedure for such tumors would have meant peeling back the boy's scalp, cutting through the bone of his skull and lifting his brain to reach the tumor, he said.
David named his tumor after Frankenstein's monster, who scared him until he dressed up as the fictional character for Halloween. His parents auctioned off a bumper sticker reading "Frank Must Die" on eBay
to raise money for his treatment.