Fort Mill woman diagnosed with cancer despite preventative measures

FORT MILL, S.C. — A Fort Mill woman who once shared how genetic testing can save lives is now expressing a different sentiment.

Cheryl Scott lost her mother to ovarian cancer at the age of 48 and her sister to breast cancer at the age of 41.

“My GYN doctor said, ‘I don’t like your family history. I’d like to get genetic testing,’” Scott said.

In 2016, Scott took a genetic test that revealed she was positive for the BRCA 1 gene. This meant she had an increased chance of being diagnosed with breast and ovarian cancers.

So she did what she believed would give her a fighting chance.

“I had my ovaries and fallopian tubes removed in 2017. And I had a prophylactic double mastectomy in 2018. I’m doing everything right to make sure I don’t have anything that could cause cancer,” Scott explained.

Channel 9′s Erica Bryant sat down with Scott shortly after those surgeries. Her message then was to get the word out about the life-saving test.

Now her message is more eye-opening.

In May 2022, Scott said she started having pain in her right side, and seven months later she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

“To this day, I am still in disbelief. Sometimes I wake up and I’ll say I’ve been diagnosed with cancer,” Scott expressed.

Ebony Parson, Scott’s OBGYN, said she was shocked when she heard the news.

“It literally knocked the wind out of me. I’ve known her for years at this point; this was one of the cases in which you really felt like you won,” Parson said.

One month after Scott’s diagnosis, she went into surgery and had 27 tumors removed.

“They removed my spleen, part of my diaphragm, two sections of my liver, and the sheath off my bladder. There were tumors everywhere,” Scott explained.

“Unfortunately, for the women who remove their ovaries, there is still a small chance—a single digit three to 5% chance that you could still, in theory, get ovarian cancer,” Parson said.

This is the new message Scott wants to share with women.

“With having the surgeries, I thought that ... I literally had a false sense of security,” Scott said. “You just don’t think you could get cancer because you don’t have ovaries. You can.”

However, Parson said Scott’s case was the first she’d ever seen.

“This is the first time that I have diagnosed ovarian cancer, and a woman who has the BRCA mutation had her ovaries removed,” Parson said.

Parson said there are several symptoms of ovarian cancer that women should look out for.

“Signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer are going to be bloating, pelvic pain, a change in your diet or eating,” Parson explained.

Scott said she had six rounds of chemotherapy treatments, and her last round was the day after she turned 66.

“I rang the bell, and even for the nurses, it was one of the most emotional bell-ringing ceremonies they had seen,” Scott expressed. “I went through this walk so that someone else may not have to go through it.”

VIDEO: Fort Mill woman shares how new genetic test may save lives

Almiya White

Almiya White, wsoctv.com

Almiya White is a reporter for WSOC-TV