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Mother of Cork teen who underwent cancer treatment in US calls for improved treatment options in Ireland

By Olivia Kelleher

A teenage boy who was told his cancer in the skull was terminal in Ireland is looking forward to returning back home next month after surgeons successfully completed a life-saving operation in the States.

Aaron McMahon (18) from Shanagarry, Co Cork underwent a successful eleven-hour surgery to remove a chordoma tumour at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre (UPMC) last month.

Aaron with his mother, Gail, before his surgery

He hopes to fly back home next month. His prognosis is good.

In an interview with Cork's 96FM Aaron said his recovery was going well and he was looking forward to getting back to his own bed.

He experiences "small headaches" but his pain levels have been significantly reduced.

He admits he is looking forward to simple pleasures at home and reiterated his thanks for the funds that were raised for his treatment in the States.

[quote]I just want to go home to my own bed! And the dogs Oscar and Cooper. I am speechless towards the amount of people who got involved. Everyone who came out fundraising. I am very thankful.[/quote]

Meanwhile, his mother Gail said she is concerned about coming home as she claims the country is without the medical expertise needed to assist Aaron on his road to recovery.

"The comfort here of going in and seeing one of the team (in Pittsburgh), it doesn't matter which one, and you can ask questions.

"If I am out with Aaron and I have a problem I can email. You have no idea of that feeling that at last I have somebody who can take care of Aaron."

Mrs McMahon said it was frightening to have to travel to the States to obtain the surgery for Aaron.

She calls for improved treatment options in Ireland.

Aaron was informed by doctors in Ireland that his only option was palliative care after he was diagnosed with a chordoma.

Aaron with his parents

Aaron had previously travelled to Germany for proton treatment for his condition which involves a rare form of cancer that occurs in the bones of the base of the skull and the spine.

The McMahon family would like to acknowledge the work of the Gavin Glynn Foundation.

The foundation, which was set up in memory of a four-year-old boy who died of a rare form of cancer, booked and paid for flights and accommodation in America.

They are also hugely appreciative of the over €100,000 raised on a GoFundMe page.

The teenager has also expressed his thanks to people from all over Ireland who sent letters and cards since he went public with his plight earlier this year.

It is understood that Aaron first spotted his reoccurring headaches in 2013 and they got progressively worse by 2016.

He was diagnosed with a brain tumour and had surgery in Dublin before going to Germany for treatment.

Earlier this year he noticed he had eye problems again and the family were told that his condition was terminal.

However, surgeons in Pittsburgh said they could treat him and he has gone from strength to strength since the surgery.

Chordoma is part of a group of malignant bone and soft tissue tumours called sarcoma and is diagnosed in one million people per year.