influencer, cancer

Black Women Urged To Be Own Health Advocates After Popular Influencer Dies From Misdiagnosis

After influencer Jessica Pettway died of cancer following a fibroids misdiagnosis, Black women are being urged to be their own health advocates.

Black women were reminded to be their greatest health advocate after popular influencer Jessica Pettway, 36, died from cervical cancer on March 11.

Pettway was originally misdiagnosed with fibroids.

Pettway first revealed her cancer diagnosis in July 2023 to her 158,000-plus followers on Instagram. Here death shocked social media users, especially that she received multiple misdiagnoses. Doctors viewed her “intense vaginal bleeding” as a symptom of fibroids until her condition worsened.

“I was rushed to the hospital, where they told me that the extreme blood loss was due to ‘fibroids.’ My Gyno made it seem like it was so normal and common, explained Pettway in the post. “I didn’t think much of it, however I was passing clots the size of a placenta, which was really alarming.”

She added, “I was told I could not get surgery to remove this ‘fibroid’ due to my lack of blood supply…They recommended I do a biopsy.”

The biopsy results revealed that the influencer had stage 3 cervical cancer. However, her story speaks to countless women receiving misdiagnoses to their own detriment. According to KKF Health News, women and people of color are 20 to 30% more likely to experience a misdiagnosis. A significant portion of these misdiagnoses stem from cancer, specifically in the lungs.

However, these issues of correct medical analysis and treatment disproportionately impact Black women. Women’s health expert Dr. Sherry Ross notes that the “broken medical system” contributes to this growing problem.

“We have a broken medical system,” told Yahoo Life. “Women of color are marginalized even more in a broken system [in terms of] getting timely appointments, having insurance, and being sent to the ER.”

Pettway leaves behind her husband and their two daughters.

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