12-Year-Old Boy Undergoes 13 Sessions of Radiation to Fight Rare Stage 4 Brain Cancer

Boris Bankov was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine dlioma after he began slurring his speech and feeling dizzy in late August

Photo: gofundme

A young boy from Nevada is fighting for his life after he was diagnosed with a rare brain cancer with no known cure and a low rate of survival.

According to a GoFundMe campaign, Branimir Bankov first noticed his 12-year-old son Boris had difficulty speaking when he returned from a school day in late August.

Boris saw his physician the next day and was immediately sent to a local emergency room, where doctors discovered a tumor the size of a "ping pong ball" growing inside his brain, per the donation page. Over the next three days, Boris' symptoms worsened, and he was soon no longer able to speak due to "excessive" pressure in his brain, the page said.

"An emergency surgery was performed to place a tube in his head to relieve the brain pressure and Boris was airlifted to Salt Lake City, UT and admitted to a specialized pediatric cancer intensive care unit," Polya Bankova, Boris' aunt, wrote on GoFundMe, adding that her nephew was "fully immobile."

A biopsy revealed Boris had diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, or DIPG, a rare brain cancer that has no known cure, according to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The tumor is fast-growing, and can cause symptoms such as difficulty speaking, problems walking, drooping of the face and headache and vision problems.

The tumor affects the brain stem, and is typically hard to treat, the National Cancer Institute notes. Because of this, patients have a low survival rate.

Boris underwent 13 sessions of radiation therapy in a month and, to prevent brain damage, cannot be given any more.

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"After the radiation Boris improved his symptoms and restored some mobility but still has his left side partially paralyzed and requires continued physical, speech and occupational therapy," Bankova said on GoFundMe.

The tumor cannot be removed surgically, and the family wants to place Boris in a clinical antibody trial in Utah with the hope it may help his body fight the cancer on its own.

"DIPG is a malignant tumor that needs to be suppressed for Boris to maintain bodily functions and improve, which is why timely treatment is of essence," Bankova wrote on the donation page.

As of Friday afternoon, the family's GoFundMe has raised nearly $50,000.

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