Dr. Marisa Weiss – WOMAN of ACTION™



A Celebration of Women™

is elated to Celebrate the Life and work of this survivor turned thriving philanthropist for all women that have suffered the challenges and fears of a disease that affects millions of women every year; BREAST CANCER. An actual breast cancer oncologist herself, with over twenty years of active practice in the Philadelphia region, this Woman is regarded as a visionary advocate for her innovative and steadfast approach to informing, empowering, and treating patients with breast cancer.





Dr. Marisa Weiss


Marisa Weiss, M.D. is the founder, president and guiding force behind Breastcancer.org, the world’s most trafficked online resource for medically reviewed breast health and breast cancer information, reaching over 8 million visitors per year.

Over the past 20 years, Dr. Marisa Weiss has treated thousands of women diagnosed with breast cancer. But in April of 2010, the founder of the website breastcancer.org found herself on the other side of the examining table. After a routine mammogram, she was diagnosed with a breast tumor.

“When it happened to me, it was a shock,” the oncologist tells Terry Gross. “I was a very busy person and during a very busy day like anyone else, I had to rush to the mammography department, take all the clothes off, wait in that gown, wait to be called and I thought it was just going to be like any other year.”

It wasn’t. The radiologist who examined Weiss’ films told her that he saw something worrisome and wasn’t sure what it was.

“Those words were serious words,” she recalls.

“And I got an appointment to come back the next day.”

After another mammogram confirmed calcification in her breast, Weiss had an MRI — a more sensitive diagnostic test for dense breasts like hers.

KateAmy“After the MRI, I came out and looked at the faces of the radiology technicians who operate the machines and they wouldn’t look at me,” she says. “They were avoiding my glance. So I knew then that it was serious. And then I went from there to the radiology reading room to meet with a radiologist who pulled the images fresh up on the screen and like a light bulb there it was, a tumor in my left breast that was clearly a cancer.”

Weiss was lucky. Her cancer was discovered early and her prognosis is excellent. She says without a routine mammogram, she might not have been so fortunate. In 2009, a report issued by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force said that mammograms were unnecessary for women under 50 — and women over 50 only needed mammograms every other year.

“I’m 51 now and it was my mammograms in my 40s, as opposed to my mammogram when I turned 50, that revealed a change that ended up being early signs of breast cancer,” she says. “So I am a direct beneficiary of early detection. And so I feel very grateful to have a high-quality mammogram, a digital mammogram. … I believe strongly that women should get their first mammogram starting at age 40 and have it each year after that — and start even earlier if they’re at higher risk.”

Marisa Weiss is the founder and president of breastcancer.org, a support group for women diagnosed with breast cancer. She is also the author of Taking Care of Your “Girls:” A Breast Health Guide for Girls, Teens and In-Betweens and Living Beyond Breast Cancer.

Targeting and the personalization as it relates to online marketing means tailoring each visitor’s web experience based on their interests and needs. Marketers integrate information like visitor’s online behavior, keywords and data entry into forms to drive offers, Calls to Action and content.

Breast Cancer Website Case Studybreastcancer.org

RadiologistConsult_tcm8-330365Breastcancer.org implemented web content personalization on their website.

These changes resulted from lessons they had learned from user research that clear navigation and powerful search were not enough. They developed five different vocabularies to assign metadata to content: audience, situation, clinical characteristics, perspective and topic.

After coming up with each vocabulary they listed out corresponding components to each one. For example, audience listed: Patients, family and friends, press and public, clinicians and providers. For each potential combination of scenarios, content was targeted.

For example, when targeting patients who are undergoing treatment and need lymph nodes removed, content was written specifically for these types of patients including content about “arm lymphedema” and “how arm lymphedema happens”. Using keywords, descriptions and titles with words focused around the condition of lymphedema, treatment, care and side effects allows Breastcancer.org to target and profile anyone searching for information both on search engines and on their website. Someone looking for lymphedema will land on one of the pages with the specific targeted content.

Personalizing Visitor Experience

breastcancer.org_Breastcancer.org pushed personalized content to users based on profile information. They used email, website content and RSS. For a medical website dealing with health issues such as breast cancer, personalization is important because it allows patients to fully understand their diagnosis and focus on the issue which they are wrestling with at any given time in the process.

Breastcancer.org uses personalization tools to guide visitors and provide visitors with relevant information increasing user engagement, time on website and providing a better user experience. It has also allowed for greater analysis of how users are getting to the site and where they are landing once they reach the site.

She is a member of the American Society of Therapeutic Radiation Oncology and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

BreastCancer.org houses a Community site – DISCUSSION BOARDS HERE

KALE: Nutritional Superstar, Dr. Marisa Weiss

We know that vegetables are nutrient-dense – packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other good things such as:

  • antioxidants, including vitamins A, E, and C, which help strengthen the immune system and may help protect against certain types of cancers, including breast cancer
  • polyphenols, including flavonols in green tea, a type of antioxidant that may help protect against certain cancers and heart disease
  • carotenoids, including lycopene and beta carotene, plant compounds that can act as antioxidants and may help protect against certain cancers, heart disease, and macular degeneration (an eye disease).

While food shopping, I often wonder which veggies are the most nutritious. I do know that iceberg lettuce has great crunch but few nutrients and that spinach is a powerhouse. But which vegetables would boost the nutritional value of my meals the most?

It only takes a few minutes of research to figure out that kale is number 1, and I need to figure out how to eat more of it. The leafy green is the superstar of the produce section, chock full of the antioxidants vitamins A, C, and K, as well as a good source of copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. Kale also is a rich source of lutein, a carotenoid, which also promotes good eye health.

Kale and other cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, collards, Brussels sprouts, broccoli) also contain several other phytochemicals (chemical compounds in plants) thought to reduce the risk of cancer, including sulforaphane, which has been linked to reducing the risk of certain breast and colon cancers, and isothiocyanates, which are linked to a lower risk of bladder cancer. Kale also contains a flavonoid, maempferol, which is thought to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.

So I bought two bunches of organic Dino kale. This variety has a large smooth leaf, unlike some other varieties that have smaller leaves with ruffled edges. I washed it and stared at it. I realized I wasn’t exactly sure how to cook it. I knew I needed to remove the thick middle stems, but beyond that, I needed help.

Dr__Weiss_Color_(2)My mother told me to sauté it with fresh garlic and then sprinkle it with lemon juice. Or, I could steam it or add it to a veggie stir fry. I tried both recipes and I’ll be honest — the superstar of the nutrition world wasn’t singing a love song to my taste buds. I had to choke it down. I experimented by adding kale to some chicken soup, and the longer cooking time and extra spices made a world of difference.

I also stumbled on a recipe for kale chips that is relatively easy and super delicious—and helped shift my affection for kale to true love. Something so nutritious just became extremely tasty and wonderfully crunchy. And making the chips took no more time than making a salad. I just removed the stems, washed the kale, dried it, tossed the dry leaves with avocado oil and then baked them for 12 minutes in a 350-degree oven. I added a sprinkle of sea salt and chili pepper once they were out of the oven. Yum!

One friend puts kale into veggie-fruit smoothies. The wrong ratio can taste like a swamp, but if you include fruit and carrots, you’ll fall in love. Really good!

kalesalad_225Finally, my favorite: kale salad. My first attempt was unsuccessful. I tossed it with salad dressing and it was like eating a tree it was so tough. But then my smart buddies at Breastcancer.org told me the secret: you have to massage the salad dressing into the kale leaves for about 5 minutes (use a rubber glove or put your hand into a plastic bag and go for it). This softens the leaves and makes them more delicious and digestible. Baby kale works best, but you can even use full-size kale (just remove the thick stems). Add in chunks of pear or strawberries and crushed nuts, like I did in the photo above. Another bonus: kale salad keeps for a few days (unlike regular lettuce salads that wilt into mush).

Kale now has a favored spot in my crisper drawer. I am careful to buy organic kale because I’m eating a lot of it and it’s on the EWG Dirty Dozen list. Also, you don’t want to overdo it. Both raw kale and spinach naturally contain a high amount of oxalic acid, which can interfere with calcium absorption and trigger kidney stones and gout. It can also make you gassy. So it’s best to limit raw kale to one or two servings a week. Cooked kale doesn’t cause these issues, so you can eat as much of it as you like.

What about you?

Is there a vegetable that you know is a great nutrition source that you had to force yourself to eat before you found a way to enjoy it?

Every woman wants to know what she can do to lower her risk of breast cancer.

Today, there are many risk factors that have contributed to more women being diagnosed with breast cancer. Most breast cancers AREN’T inherited — only about 5% to 10% are. This means there are many things you can do to lower your risk of being diagnosed.

If you have no history of the disease, there are steps you can take to keep your risk as low as it can be. If you’ve been diagnosed, there are things you can do beyond any treatments you’re receiving to reduce the risk of the cancer coming back or developing a new cancer. And if you are living with advanced-stage breast cancer, you want to do everything you can to slow the cancer’s growth.

Researchers are working to learn how factors in the environments outside and inside your body may work separately and together to affect your health and your risk of developing breast cancer. The environment inside your body includes genetics (the genes you got from your mother and father), hormone levels, and illnesses. The environment outside your body includes air, water, food, and everything else you come into contact with each day. Parts of this external environment enter your internal environment every day — the food you eat, the water you drink, the air you breathe, and the vitamins or medicines you take are just a few.

Some of these factors — your sex, your age, and your genetics, for example — can’t be changed. But many other factors — smoking cigarettes, exercising, and eating nutritious food — can be changed or modified. By making the healthiest choices possible, you can make sure your breast cancer risk is as low as possible.

View How to Reduce Your Risk on Howcast

These recommendations are based on current knowledge and research. Some of them may seem hard — losing weight or quitting smoking, for example — but making these changes can help lower your risk of breast cancer. Remember, no one is perfect. Set your goals and try to do the best you can every day.

Breastcancer.org Founder and President Marisa Weiss, M.D. says,

“Some steps yield instant payoff — like stopping hormone replacement therapy or catching up on lost sleep. Other steps require a lot of work over time before payday — like maintaining a healthy weight. Our aim is to give you steps that are very practical and reasonable. Set your goals and strive to do the best you can on an everyday basis!”


Marisa Weiss | LinkedIn

Marisa Weiss (@DrMarisaWeiss) on Twitter

Marisa Weiss, M.D. – Breastcancer.org




A Celebration of Women™


welcomes this woman of medicine and philanthropy into our global alumni with open arms, looking forward to future collaboration in the quest for a cure of breast cancer, and celebrate all the work being done to better the lives of all women.


Brava Marisa!



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