Arizona first responder shares story of breast cancer to inspire other firefighters

An Arizona first responder is sharing her story of breast cancer to inspire others on the frontlines.
Published: Oct. 13, 2023 at 9:16 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Statistics show one in eight women will develop the disease in their lifetime, and in some cases, environmental factors can cause or contribute to it.

Dori Booth recently joined the Sedona Fire District as the Division Chief Fire Marshal. But being exposed to potentially hazardous chemicals spans long before her new role. Before Sedona, she was a deputy fire marshal with Phoenix Fire and was a combat veteran with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.

Certain chemicals like benzene and beryllium, emitted in gasoline or old insulation materials like vinyl and asbestos, are human carcinogens. The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says breathing them in or getting them on your skin has been proven to cause numerous types of cancer.

Dori’s work as both a fire marshal and a veteran repeatedly exposed her to these chemicals. She found her fast-growing cancer through a routine mammogram and CT scan. This month, she’s encouraging other women, specifically first responders, to make annual appointments and stay on top of their health.

“They can’t prove that it’s not work-related, whether it’s the fire department or the military. And that is one of the things now is going through [worker’s] comp, as part of the presumptive fire cancers and getting all the documentation and additional medical evaluations,” Booth said.

Though her battle hasn’t been easy, she is still grateful for a career that fulfills her life.

“I wouldn’t have changed for the world; I absolutely love what I do. I have been in fire inspections throughout my entire career in Phoenix. Fire investigators and arson investigators are exposed just as much if not more than the front-line firefighters.”

Booth had numerous surgeries and procedures this past year, including biopsies, lumpectomies and even a double mastectomy, the complete surgical removal of both breasts and all breast tissue.

She now feels she is in control of her health and future despite the complications and roadblocks.

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