Chanté Burkett garnered the attention of her 211,000 Instagram followers after revealing doctors initially ignored what later became a severe medical emergency.
The 33-year-old told Health that late last year, she noticed her stomach had become “semi-hard,” and she was suffering from “severe pelvic pain” and vomiting. Burkett’s symptoms continued for weeks. Over six months, the social media influencer had visited and was dismissed by her doctor three times. The doctor never performed any tests, according to Burkett.
The woman told the media outlet that she received several reasons behind her symptoms, including her weight and perhaps a case of typical bloating. As a result, she was advised to just take medication.
“I was working out, and I was losing weight, but I noticed that my stomach wasn’t going down,” she explained. “It was getting round like a pregnant person.” After a third visit, Burkett grew impatient as the pain she was suffering worsened. “I finally said, ‘I don’t feel comfortable with you guys anymore,’ ” she told the outlet.
Eventually, Burkett went to an urgent care center, where a CT scan revealed a large mass. However, before she could see a specialist, the woman suffered pain so severe she said it made her unable to even walk.
She ultimately had emergency surgery where doctors found a large tumor inside her stomach “the size of a watermelon” that weighed 13 pounds and measured 30 centimeters. According to Burkett’s Instagram post where she documented the journey, tests showed that she had a mucinous cystadenoma, a type of non-cancerous cystic tumor that forms on the ovaries and tends to grow larger than other masses, the outlet reported.
According to an article from the American Bar, a report from The Institute of Medicine, a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization now calling itself the National Academy of Medicine, found that “racial and ethnic minorities tend to receive lower quality of care than non-minorities.” NAM also found that “racial and ethnic minorities receive lower-quality health care than white people — even when insurance status, income, age, and severity of conditions are comparable.” It concluded by describing an “uncomfortable reality.” That reality: “Some people in the United States were more likely to die from cancer, heart disease, and diabetes simply because of their race or ethnicity, not just because they lack access to health care.”
Burkett hopes from her experience readers get “a push to advocate for yourself within the health-care system. Demand the proper testing and make sure things are documented.”