Tracy Davidson and Dr. Marisa Weiss//Photo by Kelly Lyons.
Earlier this year, NBC10 Philadelphia morning news anchor Tracy Davidson announced that she’d been diagnosed with breast cancer. It’s harrowing news for anyone, but imagine battling the disease in front of hundreds of thousands of viewers. Davidson did just that—and with a positive attitude.
She’s since undergone successful radiation treatment—but some women aren’t so lucky. Many will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime—about a quarter of a million American women are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer each year, according to the American Cancer Society. Some 40,000 will die.
The Emmy-winning journalist graciously shared her story at Main Line Today’s Women on the Move luncheon on Oct. 22 at Drexelbrook in Drexel Hill. She joined Dr. Marisa C. Weiss, a renowned Main Line Health breast cancer oncologist and founder of Breastcancer.org, for a special sit-down discussion before 450 guests.
Davidson first found a lump during a self-exam. Concerned, she called her doctor, who discovered the early-stage cancer, for which she underwent surgery and radiation. Had she waited longer to seek treatment, she might not have been so lucky.
Davidson’s message is, quite simply, “Don’t wait.” It comes on the heels of the American Cancer Society’s announcement that women should now begin annual mammograms at age 45, then be screened every other year once they hit 54. Until Tuesday, the society had been recommending annual mammograms starting at age 40.
Siding with Davidson “earlier the better” message, Weiss has started the hashtag campaign #40SavesLives in response to the American Cancer Society’s new stance. During her talk with Davidson, she stressed that, while 10 percent of breast-cancer cases are genetic, the rest involve lifestyle choices. “Change the conversation in your head,” Weiss told the luncheon’s 450 guests. “Your health is no longer optional. If you want a full life, it’s mandatory.”
Both women advocated eating well, limiting alcohol use, exercising, and keeping a healthy state of mind. “We all have a chance to take a stance against breast cancer,” Davidson said. “Prevent, fight and keep it in remission.”
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For more on Davidson’s story, visit her website. For information on breast health, see our story here. Learn about genetic testing for breast cancer in our Q&A with genetic counselor Kim McGreevy here.