'If you have a tumor you don't have to be scared,' 9-year-old with brain cancer says

Robilyn says to be brave; doctors monitoring her tumor growth weekly

SAN ANTONIO – Every year, the KSAT community partners with the nonprofit Head for the Cure Foundation to raise money and awareness for brain cancer since the passing of former KSAT news director Jim Boyle in 2014.

KSAT 12 spoke with a family whose 9-year-old daughter was diagnosed with one of the most common types of brain tumors seen in children, and they want other families going through the same thing to know it's going to be OK.

Robert and Krystin Rodriguez knew something was wrong with their daughter Robilyn when they were vacationing in Nashville in March this year.

She was rushed back home to University Hospital for surgery after MRI scans of Robi's brain confirmed that she had an astrocytoma brain tumor wrapped around the back of the brain stem -- a difficult spot for doctors to completely remove it. University Hospital doctors are currently using radiation to target and shrink the tumor and monitoring it weekly.

Dr. Shafqat Shah, a pediatric neurology professor with University Hospital, is Robi’s doctor.

Shah said that astrocytomas are the most common type of brain cancers with children. She said common signs of these tumors are seeing double vision, weakness in the body and headache and vomiting in the morning. Shah hopes one day there will be a better treatment for cases like Robi's.

“We are learning more and more about the nature of these tumors and hope that patients like Robi which who aren't able to completely resect it there will have treatment available in the future,” Shafqat said.

Robi is now back at school and her tumor growth is monitored by doctors weekly. Her advice to other cancer patients is to be brave.

“If you have a tumor you don't have to be scared,” Robi said.

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