"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.
Philecia La'Bounty was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in 2018. Had she gotten a mammogram, they could have caught it much earlier -- but the shocking diagnosis came barely eight months after she was denied the procedure, twice.
La'Bounty, who shares videos on TikTok, detailing her experience with breast cancer, uploaded a three-minute-long video in July 2022, where she spoke about 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."
The first time around, La'Bounty went to a free clinic in Long Beach, California for an ultrasound because she did not have insurance at the time, she said on the video-sharing platform. The then 29-year-old said the results showed the lump was a "benign cyst," but she asked the doctor if she could get a mammogram done.
"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. However, she did submit a second request for a mammogram, but that was rejected, too.
"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, 35, according to Insider.
Eight months after she was denied a mammogram, La'Bounty returned to the Long Beach clinic since 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.
@philecialabounty Misdiagnosed lump that turned into stage 4 breast cancer #cancertok #breastcancer #stage4cancer ♬ original sound - Philecia
La'Bounty was asked to go 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."
Soon enough, she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and was put on chemo. Now, La'Bounty takes oral chemotherapy in five-week cycles, which she said makes her "feel like actual garbage" every five or six weeks, although she said a PET scan recently found "no evidence of disease.
However, she will likely have to undergo chemotherapy from time to time, for the rest of her life. She also said that she 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."
Cover Image Source: TikTok | @philecialabount