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Woman Told She Was Too Young for a Mammogram — 8 Months Later She Was Diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer

·3-min read
Woman Told She Was Too Young for a Mammogram — 8 Months Later She Was Diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer

A California woman said she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer eight months after she was twice denied a mammogram due to her young age and family history.

Philecia La'Bounty, who posts on TikTok about her experience with breast cancer, created a three-minute-long video in July detailing how she first discovered a lump in 2018 "a little smaller than a marble" that she said "definitely did not feel like my breast tissue."

La'Bounty sought out a free clinic in Long Beach, California for an ultrasound because she did not have insurance at the time, she said on TikTok. The then 29-year-old said the results showed the lump was a "benign cyst," but she asked the doctor to submit a request for a mammogram.

"At that time I was 29 years old — it literally came back on the paperwork: 'denied due to age and no family history,' " La'Bounty said.

When she submitted a second request, it was denied again, she said.

Philecia La'Bounty, denied a mammogram eight months before she was eventually diagnosed with breast cancer
Philecia La'Bounty, denied a mammogram eight months before she was eventually diagnosed with breast cancer

Courtesy of Philecia La’Bounty, Instagram: @philecia | TikTok: @philecialabounty

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"I had perfect bloodwork, no other symptoms, no other masses, so they denied any other treatment, told me I was too young to have breast cancer, that I was healthy, it was just a cyst, and come back if it bothered me,"said La'Bounty, who is now 35 according to Insider.

La'Bounty said eight months later, she returned to the Long Beach clinic because the lump had grown "eight centimeters into my left breast and was very bothersome."

"When I went back this time, it was emergency mammogram, emergency ultrasound — while she was doing the ultrasound she kept going out for opinion and coming back in, and that's exactly when I knew that it was cancer," La'Bounty said.

Philecia La'Bounty, denied a mammogram eight months before she was eventually diagnosed with breast cancer
Philecia La'Bounty, denied a mammogram eight months before she was eventually diagnosed with breast cancer

Courtesy of Philecia La’Bounty, Instagram: @philecia | TikTok: @philecialabounty Philecia La’Bounty

On Thursday, La'Bounty told Insider that she will likely have to do chemotherapy treatments from time to time for the rest of her life, and she has shared her story publicly to encourage others to "push for answers when something feels off in their bodies."

"Had I seen someone that I related to, that was posting about this, I would have taken my situation more seriously," she said. "I would have fought harder. I would have found a way to pay for a mammogram."

"If I can save one life," she added, "that's worth everything I post."

La'Bounty was directed to a breast cancer facility at City of Hope in Duarte, California. "That's where I had eight biopsies, I forget how many in each breast and one in my armpit," La'Bounty said on TikTok. "The next day, following that, I had an emergency PET scan and MRI."

She was then diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, which had spread to her lungs, lymph nodes, and sternum. She was immediately put on six rounds of chemotherapy, she said on TikTok. This included one round of a drug she referred to as "the red devil," which is a nickname for the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin, according to the Moffitt Cancer Center.

Philecia La'Bounty, denied a mammogram eight months before she was eventually diagnosed with breast cancer
Philecia La'Bounty, denied a mammogram eight months before she was eventually diagnosed with breast cancer

Courtesy of Philecia La’Bounty, Instagram: @philecia | TikTok: @philecialabounty

The drug carries a red hue, which earns it the nickname, and is "known to punish the cardiac system while it treats cancer," according to the Moffitt Cancer Center.

La'Bounty takes oral chemotherapy in five-week cycles, which she said make her "feel like actual garbage" every five or six weeks, although she said a PET scan recently found "no evidence of disease."

Philecia La'Bounty, denied a mammogram eight months before she was eventually diagnosed with breast cancer
Philecia La'Bounty, denied a mammogram eight months before she was eventually diagnosed with breast cancer

Courtesy of Philecia La’Bounty, Instagram: @philecia | TikTok: @philecialabounty

La'Bounty froze 10 eggs after she learned chemotherapy could leave her infertile directly before she started her first round, she told Insider.

RELATED: Miranda McKeon, 20, Marks 1 Year Since Finding a Breast Cancer Lump: 'Something Was Wrong'

"I've always wanted to carry my own children," she said. "That's something I'm still in therapy for today."

Roughly 9% of all new breast cancer cases across the country are in women under 45 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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