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Jessica Pettway: Shedding Light on Misdiagnosed Health Conditions and Advocating for Change

Updated: Mar 26

Jessica Pettway, a beloved beauty and fashion influencer, devoted wife, and mother of two daughters, tragically became another statistic of misdiagnosis within the medical community. Initially diagnosed with one condition, she later discovered it was far more severe – stage 3 cervical cancer.

Her story echoes the findings of Singh et al. (2014), whose research revealed alarming rates of outpatient diagnostic errors affecting approximately 12 million adults annually. Shockingly, Singh et al. (2014) reported, based on previous studies, about half of these errors have the potential to cause severe harm, emphasizing the urgent need for improved diagnostic practices and awareness.

Black women face alarming rates of cervical cancer, with the second-highest incidence and highest mortality rates compared to other groups (Washington & Randall, 2022). Sadly, they're often diagnosed with this cancer at later stages.

Recent studies show that the difference in mortality rates between Black and White women is even more significant than previously believed, especially when considering hysterectomies (Washington & Randall, 2022). Shockingly, the five-year survival rate for Black women stands at only 56%, which is 10% lower than the average rate for all stages of cervical cancer nationwide (Washington & Randall, 2022).

Considering the challenges faced by women, especially Black women, in accessing quality healthcare and the disparities in cervical cancer outcomes, the inclusion of certified menstrual doulas in healthcare settings is crucial. These doulas offer personalized support and guidance across various aspects of reproductive health, from menstruation to fertility.

By providing customized care, emotional support, and informed guidance, menstrual doulas can help bridge the gaps in healthcare access and empower women, especially those from marginalized communities, to navigate their menstrual health journey with confidence and dignity.

A certified menstrual doula's presence can help address gaps in healthcare access and promote equitable care for all women. As we work towards a more inclusive healthcare system, certified menstrual doulas are vital in advocating for women's health and breaking down barriers to care.


Singh, H., Meyer, A. N. D., & Thomas, E. J. (2014). The frequency of diagnostic errors in outpatient care: estimations from three large observational studies involving US adult populations. BMJ Quality & Safety, 23(9), 727–731.

Washington, A., & Randall, J. (2022). “We’re Not Taken Seriously”: Describing the Experiences of Perceived Discrimination in Medical Settings for Black Women. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 10(2), 883–891.

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