Keeping You Healthy know the warning signs of ovarian cancer - | WBTV Charlotte

Keeping You Healthy know the warning signs of ovarian cancer

Strap on some high heels put on your teal and help save a life! The 4th Annual Stiletto Sprint takes off at South Park September 20th and the Teal Magnolias are still looking for donations, corporate sponsors and your support!

The event was established in 2011 by the ovarian cancer support group at Levine Cancer Institute.  They call themselves the Teal Magnolias and hundreds come out to join in the sprint.  Everyone from ovarian cancer survivors to their families, even their doctors and researchers join in the fun!   

Money raised at the Stiletto Sprint stays right here in our community and goes towards ground breaking research, patient support programs, as well as educational efforts on the warning signs of ovarian cancer.

On average, 22,000 women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. according to doctors at LCI.  Many will only learn of the disease in its advanced stages, making the fight to beat it much more difficult.   Ovarian cancer is a hard cancer to detect; Phyllis Zellmer knows that better than most. 

I recently met Phyllis for an interview at Levine Cancer Institute.  Moments before my photographer and I arrived, Phyllis' doctors gave her some tough news…it was unlikely she would win her battle against peritoneal cancer. "Do you have good days?" I asked Phyllis, "I was having some good days, the longer it goes....sometimes you have good hours so you go for that," she said with a crack in her voice.

In spite of the devastating news, Phyllis insisted the interview go on.  She's made it her life's mission to take her experience and use it to educate women.  Like many others she went to several doctors before finally discovering it is was a gynecological cancer causing her health issues.

Phyllis is like a lot of women who don't discover their ovarian or peritoneal cancer until advanced stages.  She has often asked herself, "What if I'd found out sooner?"  "I had all the typical symptoms that women ignore," Phyllis told me.  "I had bloating, gas and you think it's something else…" her voice trails off.  I look into her beautiful blue eyes and see resolve but I also see determination.  "What do you want people to learn from your experience?," I ask her.   "Pay attention to your body and when you know something is wrong don't let someone talk you out of it…say oh it's this oh it's that.  Stay with it, when it's longer than two weeks it's not normal!  Don't stop until you get answers as to what is causing your symptoms," she insisted.

In her short battle with peritoneal cancer, she was diagnosed in January of 2011; Phyllis has become a veteran educator on the warning signs of ovarian cancer.  She hands out cards to strangers and insists, "Please read this, then give it to another woman, even a stranger, and ask her to do the same."  Listed on the card is what every woman should know about gynecological cancers…the symptoms that could be mistaken for an intestinal problem or passed off as ‘nothing'.  They include pelvic pain, urinary frequency or urgency, abdominal bloating and pressure, nausea and diarrhea. 

For Phyllis, and all the moms, and sisters and best friends and wives just like her, consider joining a Stiletto Sprint team, or start a team!  Perhaps you know a business that is willing to be a corporate sponsor.  Phyllis is hoping more clinical trials can be funded so other families don't face the devastating news she's been given.  WBTV is proud to be a community partner the Levine Cancer Institute and Carolina's HealthCare Foundation as media sponsor for Stiletto Sprint.  I am looking forward to emceeing the event it is always such an inspiring day!

 

 

 

 

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