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Frank the Tumor is gone
Alternative Surgery Works
by Heather Greenfield, Associated Press

WASHINGTON - A 9-year-old boy who nicknamed his brain tumor "Frank" - short for Frankenstein - is celebrating the intruder's departure.

"Frank is now dead and gone and never to return," David Dingman-Grover said Tuesday. Wearing a black T-shirt with a message, "Cancer is not who I am," David was back at his home outside Washington after successful surgery in Los Angeles on Feb. 2.

Frank the Tumor gained national attention when David's mother created "Frank Must Die" bumper stickers, which the family auctioned on eBay to defray the costs of surgery.

Biopsy results Tuesday in Los Angeles showed the tumor was no longer cancerous.

When the boy from Washington suburb of Sterling, Va., was diagnosed with a grapefruit-size tumor in 2003, the family was told the size and location in the center of his skull made it difficult - perhaps impossible - to remove.

Doctors used chemotherapy and radiation to shrink the tumor to the size of a peach pit. That alleviated headaches and temporary blindness, but doctors still needed to remove the tumor.

A traditional craniotomy involves cutting through the patient's skull and - for a tumor like David's - the face. The parents agreed to such surgery but it never occurred because doctors feared it was too risky. The tumor was surrounded by three arteries responsible for supplying blood flow to the brain.

David's mother used the Internet to find out about an alternative procedure.

Dr. Hrayr Shahinian of the Skull Base Insitute in Los Angeles used fiber-optic instruments to remove the tumor through the child's nose in a 1 1/2-hour operation at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

"There were no cuts on his face," Shahinian said.

David will be 10 on March 1 and said he never doubted he would see this birthday.