- Sharon Stone said she was misdiagnosed and mistreated for what turned out to be a large fibroid.
- On Instagram, the actress urged women to seek second opinions, which can be life-saving.
- Women can be at higher risk of misdiagnoses, in part due to how medical students are trained.
Sharon Stone is encouraging other women to “get a second opinion” after learning she has a “large fibroid tumor” that, she says, was originally misdiagnosed and improperly treated.
In an Instagram story Tuesday, the 64-year-old Basic Instinct star said that after her misdiagnosis, her pain worsened to the point of needing a “double epidural.” So she sought a second opinion and learned about the tumor, which “must come out,” she said.
Stone didn’t say what her original diagnosis was, or what “incorrect procedure” was performed.
Fibroids, or tumors in the uterus that are almost always noncancerous, are very common and usually don’t cause symptoms, according to UCLA Health. When they do, though, they can cause pelvic pain and bleeding. Treatment options range from watchful waiting to various types of surgery.
Stone, a Golden Globe winner and an Academy Award nominee, said that recovering from her treatment will knock her out for four to six weeks.
“Ladies in particular: Don’t get blown off,” she wrote. Getting a second opinion, she added, “can save your life.”
Stone also shared a screenshot of an article stating that studies show women are more likely than men to suffer misdiagnoses.
Indeed, one study found that younger women were two times more likely than young men to have a medical expert give a mental-health diagnosis when their symptoms pointed more to heart disease.
Research also shows that women patients also tend to wait longer for cancer and heart-disease diagnoses than men, Insider previously reported.
Women are “not being believed, and that’s causing significant delays in care, misdiagnosis, late diagnosis, ineffective treatment, and ineffective triaging,” Dr. Garima Sharma, an internal-medicine physician and cardiologist at Johns Hopkins previously told Insider. “Women are paying a very heavy price,” she added.
One reason for misdiagnosis disparities is that medical literature largely focuses on how symptoms present in white men. So, students and doctors might not know how to spot these signs in other patients or suggest treatment plans for them.
Dr. Christina Johnson, a family physician who said she’s been misdiagnosed and gaslighted herself, previously told Insider she recommends patients set expectations with their providers ahead of the visit, understand that clinicians can’t perform every test at once, and ask specific questions like “what’s our next step?” if they’re not satisfied.
If that doesn’t work, seek second and third opinions.
“There are thousands and thousands of clinicians out there who love what they do,” she said, “who love helping patients, who love answering their questions and getting those diagnoses, who love helping to prevent disease, who love helping people to overcome their illnesses and get through their illnesses every day.”