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Prisma Health encourages women to know the symptoms of ovarian cancer


Prisma Health is reminding women to be aware of the risks and symptoms related to ovarian cancer to catch developments of the dangerous disease as early as possible. September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and as a common cancer for women in the United States and the leading cause of death among gynecological cancers, it is important for women to understand their risk factors.

“While maintaining your annual OB/GYN appointment is essential for overall health, ovarian cancer is not usually detected with a pelvic exam because the symptoms are often vague and can exist with many signs,” said Dr. Larry Puls, gynecologic oncologist at Prisma Health. “Being aware of the symptoms, talking with your OB/GYN, and knowing and understanding your body if something feels off is the best way to reduce risk.” 

The most common symptoms of ovarian cancer include: 

  • Bloating 
  • Pain or pressure in the pelvic area
  • Abdominal or back pain
  • Feeling full too quickly, or difficulty eating
  • A change in bathroom habits, such as more frequent or urgent need to urinate and/or constipation

“Another good measure to understand your risk of ovarian cancer is to learn about your family’s health history. Genetic counseling and testing are very helpful ways to know if you’re at an increased risk for the disease,” said Puls.

Only about 20 percent of ovarian cancers are detected early because there currently isn’t a specific test to identify the disease. Prisma Health’s team of oncologists and researchers, including Puls, are actively studying new ways to develop a more accurate screening tool for the disease. 

To schedule an appointment with an OB/GYN at Prisma Health, visit PrismaHealth.org/Women.

About Prisma Health

Prisma Health is a not-for-profit health company and the largest healthcare system in South Carolina. With nearly 30,000 team members, 18 hospitals, 2,947 beds and more than 300 physician practice sites, Prisma Health serves more than 1.2 million unique patients annually. Its goal is to improve the health of all South Carolinians by enhancing clinical quality, the patient experience and access to affordable care, as well as conducting clinical research and training the next generation of medical professionals. For more information, visit PrismaHealth.org.