Health

Boy, 7, is diagnosed with life-threatening brain tumor while being scanned for concussion after soccer camp

A seven-year-old boy was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor when he was having an MRI scan for a concussion after a blow to the head in a soccer game.

Logan Silva began suffering intense headaches in the two months following the game that also led him to fall asleep, and scream and cry in pain to the point where he would vomit.He finally had an MRI that revealed his symptoms weren’t from post-concussion syndrome but rather medullablastoma, a fast-growing brain tumor that’s most common in children under 10.The second-grader underwent two surgeries just two days after the September 30 diagnosis that have now left him unable to speak, eat and relearning how to walk.

Logan was diagnosed with grade four classic medulloblastoma, also called cerebellar PNET, meaning his treatment differs from other sub types of the same tumor that develops at the lower rear of the brain.Grade four has a 60 to 70 percent survival rate which falls in between grade three and WNT medulloblastoma. The surgery to remove the three centimeter-wide tumor have left the oldest of four children with posterior fossa syndrome, a post-brain surgery condition in children that causes reduced speech and motor functions.

 Logan’s dad, Daniel Silva, says his son is retraining his brain to talk, walk, swallow, and move his eyes, ‘but he still has the mind of a seven-year old and can understand everything.’ Logan began his first of 30 treatments of proton beam therapy directed on his brain and spine on Thursday at the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute near their home in Jacksonville, Florida. He will undergo this treatment every day for six weeks while having chemotherapy one day a week followed by six to eight months of chemotherapy.Proton beam therapy is especially valuable for Logan’s condition because the beam can target the specific affected area while avoiding exposing his liver and other areas to harmful radiation.

About 250 to 500 children are diagnosed with medullablastoma in the US each year. It is slightly more common in males than females and very rare in adults.Daniel describes the concussion as a ‘blessing in disguise’ because Logan vaguely showed symptoms beforehand.

He said: ‘He would get slight headaches or some dizziness that any seven-year-old playing soccer would get.’

Daniel speculates that the concussion may have jostled his son’s brain in a way that irritated the tumor and caused Logan’s severe headaches.Daniel, a corporate employee for Toyota, said: ‘I’ve been blessed that my job has allowed me to focus on my family without the concern of having to take off. I’ve been with him 100 percent of the time.’ Logan’s mother Emily, a stay-at-home-mom, cares for the other three children aged five, three, and four months while Logan goes in for treatment.The second-grader just returned home last week after a month away where he spent two weeks in the hospital followed by a two-week in-patient rehabilitation facility.He continues to go to rehab to strengthen his muscles and regain his motor functions.His father took to Facebook and wrote: ‘Physically he really is coming along, now we just got to get that swallowing, eyes and talking part going!’Luckily, a spinal tap concluded that Logan’s cancer had not spread to his spine. If so, the survival rate would have dropped to less than 60 percent.The family say they are overwhelmed with the support by Logan’s school and soccer team, family friends, and their church who have raised $17,000 of their $10,000 goal on a GoFundMe page. His supporters have used the h  ashtag #CourageousLogan and wear blue as it’s his favorite color.

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