(FoxNews.com) - Ethan D'Amato was born with a rare genetic condition that causes tumors to grow randomly across his body, but the 12-year-old doesn't plan to undergo surgery to remove the growths from his face. If he did, he said, he would fear losing two of the things he enjoys most.
"I just can't take the risk of not being able to laugh or smile," Ethan, who lives in Dallas, Tex., told Metro. "I think I will wait until there is a robotic surgeon who won't make any mistakes."
Ethan was born with neurofibromatosis, a condition that causes tumors to grow in the nervous system. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there are three different types of the condition, but Ethan was born with type one, or NF-1, the most common type of neurofibromatosis, which affects 1 in 3,000 to 4,000 individuals in the United States. The type of tumor that develops depends on the type of supporting cells involved, according to the NIH. Scientists don't know why the spontaneous genetic mutation occurs.
Neurofibromatosis puts Ethan at a greater risk of blood and bone disorders, as well as certain types of cancer, abnormalities in his spine curvature, and cognitive and eyesight issues.