5-year-old undergoes 3rd surgery to combat brain tumor - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

5-year-old undergoes 3rd surgery to combat brain tumor

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PHOENIX -

At the age of 5, an Arizona boy has been in and out of the hospital numerous times while doctors try to combat a rare brain cancer.

We visited the boy in the hospital after his most recent surgery.

This is 5-year-old Cristian Aguilar's third surgery. Doctors have tried three times to remove a cancerous tumor located in his brain stem. The cancer is actually moving into his brain. They're hoping this will be his third and final surgery.

5-year-old Cristian Aguilar passes the time in the Phoenix Children's Hospital playing video games.

It's hard to believe just yesterday Cristian spent 6 hours on the surgery table as doctors removed a cancerous tumor near his brain, his third such surgery.

"It's been tough but you got to hang in there," says Maritsa Aguilar, Cristian's mother.

In 2009 he was diagnosed with that tumor. In 2011 he finished chemo -- but then more bad news.

"We found out in September of the same year his tumor came back. Did another surgery, he did six weeks of radiation. He finished in December 2011. He was in remission for a year and eight months and that's when we found it came back," says Maritsa.

"He's certainly been through more in his 5 years than many of us will go through in our lifetime," says Dr. Ruth Bristol.

Dr. Ruth Bristol is Cristian's neurosurgeon at Phoenix Children's Hospital. She says each surgery has been difficult.

"It's pretty invasive. I think people see fairly small scars on the outside and that doesn't really tell you all the details, and the risk that's entailed in the actual surgery itself," says Dr. Bristol.

His mom and family are by his bedside every hour.

"I mean it's tough but you got to stay strong you can't think of anything negative it's just hard," says Aguilar.

They hope the old adage -- the third time is a charm -- works for them.

"Hopefully with this one we can finally cure him and watch him grow up and be a handsome little boy."

We've been getting a lot of response to this story on Facebook. Of the two stories we've posted –combined, they have been seen by 1.5 million people.

If you would like to donate, you can do so at any Chase Bank in the name of Maritsa Aguilar.

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