A young woman out of California said she was denied a mammogram due to her age and lack of family history. Eight months later she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer.
Philecia La’Bounty, sought out a free women’s health clinic in Long Beach, Calif., back in 2018 when she was 29 years old. She said in a now-viral Tik Tok video that, at the time, she noticed a small lump “a little smaller than a marble” which “definitely did not feel like my breast tissue.”
La’Bounty said the results of the ultrasound revealed a “benign cyst,” but she wanted to schedule a mammogram anyways. Doctors disagreed, claiming (according to La’Bounty) that she was too young to need the mammogram. La’Bounty also pointed out that she was uninsured at the time.
“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. A second request came back the same: denied.
“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.
She returned eight months later to the same free clinic after the cyst had grown to eight centimeters.
“When I went back this time, it was emergency mammogram, emergency ultrasound — while [the doctor] 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.
She pointed out in an interview with Insider that she’ll have to complete chemotherapy treatments for the rest of her life “from time to time.” She said she wants her story to serve as a reminder for people to advocate for their own healthcare, even when the system tries to brush them off.
“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.”
After a series of biopsies, she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer which had also spread to her lungs and lymph nodes.
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.” She also froze 10 eggs once she discovered that chemotherapy can cause infertility in women.
“I’ve always wanted to carry my own children,” she said. “That’s something I’m still in therapy for today.”
Only about 9 percent of new breast cancer cases are patients under 45 years old.