Jen DeQuinzio can finally catch her breath.
From finding a painless lump to seven rounds of chemotherapy and six surgeries, it has been a whirlwind of doctor’s appointments, tests and treatments for the Fairborn woman diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in September 2016. DeQuinzio, 42, is getting a breather as her most recent reconstructive surgery was more than six months ago.
“It was definitely overwhelming at times, but I had a ton of support from family,” she said.
Her advice to anyone who has a suspicion that there is a problem is straightforward.
“Get it checked out; it’s not to be taken lightly,” DeQuinzio said. “It could be the difference between life and death.”
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, except for skin cancer. The average risk of a woman in the United States developing breast cancer sometime in her life is about 12 percent – a 1-in-8 chance. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 268,000 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in the United States this year. Another 63,000 new cases of carcinoma in situ – a non-invasive and earliest form of breast cancer – will be also be diagnosed. While an estimated 40,920 will die from the disease this year, more women are beating the odds as death rates from female breast cancer dropped 40 percent from 1989 to 2016.
Events like Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks are instrumental in the fight against cancer. Since 1993, more than 14 million participants have raised more than $870 million nationwide. Last year, 7,000 walkers participated in the Dayton Making Strides event raising $230,000. Organizers are expecting 10,000 participants to raise $275,000 at this year’s event on Saturday, Oct. 19 at Fifth Third Field.
DeQuinzio wouldn’t miss it, as this year’s event marks her third consecutive time participating.
“It helps you see that you’re not alone,” she said.
Making Strides events make a real difference in the community. In 2018, fundraising efforts helped provide 480,000 free rides for patients to and from treatment and more than 34,000 patients received personal assistance understanding their diagnosis nationwide. More than $64 million is currently invested in breast cancer research grants.
“Because of the determination of Making Strides supporters, the American Cancer Society is there for people in every community affected by breast cancer, whether they’re currently dealing with a diagnosis, may face one in the future, or will avoid it altogether because of education and risk reduction,” said Meredith Niemeyer, American Cancer society executive director.