Morgan Bellock of Chicago opened up about her discovery, and her life now that she's six years cancer-free
A Chicago woman is reflecting on how she "got really lucky" when her ovarian cancer was detected as a result of her decision to freeze her eggs.
Morgan Bellock, a 40-year-old public relations executive, opened up about her journey toward remission and being six years cancer-free during Thursday's episode of the Today show.
"There's a very real chance that I wouldn't be here today if I hadn't gone into that doctor's appointment," Bellock said.
Her journey began with her desire to have a baby, and an eventual decision to get her eggs frozen in 2017, when she was 34. During her first appointment that summer, an ultrasound showed that Bellock had developed a cyst on her right ovary, which doctors believed to be benign.
As she previously told Today in June, Bellock was advised by her doctors to get surgery, because the cyst could cause issues if she took the medication she needed to stimulate her ovaries and eventually freeze her eggs. When her ovary was operated on, surgeons discovered a tumor hiding behind it with “a very aggressive form of cancer," she said.
Bellock was eventually diagnosed with stage 1 ovarian cancer, despite having no family history and none of the symptoms that coincide with the disease. "I had to remove my right ovary entirely," she said on the show.
80% of ovarian cancer cases are not found until stages 3 or 4, gynecologist Dr. Zaid Al-Wahab told the outlet in June.
Now six years cancer-free and in complete remission, Bellock and her now-husband Derek are hoping to start a family. "To say it was a shock I think would be an understatement," she said during her interview with Hoda Kotb, Savannah Guthrie, and NBC News medical contributor Dr. Natalie Azar.
"Prior to that day, I had no experience with cancer," Bellock said. "I didn't have anyone in my immediate circle that had been diagnosed so it was the last thing on my mind. And then all of the sudden, [I was] the one being diagnosed myself. So that came with a lot of fear, a lot of questions, just a lot of unknown."
Azar added that what happened to Bellock was an "incidental finding" that ultimately "saved her life" — and it also brings into question why there isn't "a reliable screening test for ovarian cancer."
"And again, if you're at average risk, there is no recommendation to get an ultrasound, there is no recommendation to do bloodwork. But the message, sort of as a point from her story and what Morgan went through — what can we learn from this," Azar said. "My biggest message here is you don't know if you're at risk unless you ask."
While ovarian cancer symptoms include bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, trouble eating, and additional urinary symptoms, Bellock shared that she didn't notice any of those issues given her early diagnosis.
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"That's what's so scary about this. I had no symptoms," she told Today. "I didn't miss any doctor's appointments. I'm super on top of that part of it. So that part was really challenging for me because there really weren't any symptoms. I think at the point my cancer was at, it was too early, which I'm grateful for, but there really weren't any of those symptoms that are presented later."
Now, the Chicago woman is continuing on her IVF journey with her husband, who was present at her Today taping.
"It's challenging but we're very much still in the midst of it and we're staying hopeful," she said.
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