A Scarborough-based oncology doctor has been named among the nation’s best by Newsweek.

When Newsweek magazine announced its most recent list of top cancer specialists in the nation, three doctors from Maine made the list, including Tracey Weisberg, who specializes in treating breast cancer at New England Cancer Specialists in Scarborough.

The other two were Hector Tarraza, M.D., a gynecological oncologist, and Tracey Weigel, M.D. a thoracic surgeon specializing in lung and esophageal cancer, both of whom work with Maine Medical Partners.

Newsweek’s Top Cancer Doctors list was compiled through peer nominations and extensive research, according to a press release.

Weisberg moved to Maine in 1988 initially settling in Cumberland Foreside but then moving to Falmouth 12 years ago. She is married to another doctor, Verne Weisberg, a plastic surgeon, who also offers weight management and wellness services.

The couple has three grown daughters and two dogs – “a very loud Beagle and a cute mini-poodle.”

Tracey Weisberg attended medical school at the State University of New York’s Stony Brook campus on Long Island in New York and did her residency at the Mount Sinai Medical Center. She then completed her medical oncology fellowship at Yale University.

For the past 25 years Weisberg has worked at New England Cancer Specialists, formerly the Maine Center for Cancer Medicine, which is located on the Scarborough Campus of Maine Medical Center on Route 1.

Weisberg recently spoke with the Current about her career as a doctor and what the Newsweek listing means to her.

Q: Why have you specialized in breast cancer?

A: Breast cancer found me. When I joined the Maine Center for Cancer Medicine in 1990, I was the first female oncologist. It was natural for me to have mostly female patients and most of them had breast cancer.

Later I was asked to lead, with others at Maine Medical Center, the creation of the Breast Care Center. It is a fascinating field and I am so grateful that I was able to engulf myself in this aspect of medical oncology.

Q: What should women know about breast cancer and the treatments now available?

A: Breast cancer is a cancer for which there are many treatment options. There is incredible interest on the part of many researchers to improve care and reduce the development of this disease. Women with breast cancer today, mostly, can be converted to cancer victors and survivors as opposed to succumbing to the disease.

Q: Did you know you’d been nominated for the “Newsweek” honor?

A: Not at all. This was a lovely surprise that I learned about only recently.

Q: What does being named to a list of top cancer doctors in the country mean to you?

A: Certainly this is an honor, but it doesn’t change my day-to-day activities or the way I think about myself. I have always strived to serve my patients to the best of my ability, explain their disease and make meaningful recommendations to allow them to get through the cancer journey.

Q: What do you most enjoy about your job?

A: I love seeing my patients. I love celebrating victories with them, no matter how small or large they may be. I love seeing patients that are alive and thriving that might not have been able to do so without access to some of the more recent advances in cancer therapy.

I have never been more engaged in my career, and am excited on a daily basis to improve outcomes for patients in Maine. I will also definitely continue to promote access to quality services and to work with government officials and the private sector to promote access to quality cancer care.

Q: What have been some of your hardest moments?

A: I think as time goes by and we all understand that our environment might be a factor in disease causation it’s truly frustrating to see people that have won a health battle and then are unable to make changes in their lifestyle that would promote wellness and reduce the risk of other diseases. That’s difficult to see because they fought so hard to live.

Dr. Tracey Weisberg, a breast cancer specialist at New England Cancer Specialists in Scarborough, was recently named to a list of the top cancer doctors in the country.Courtesy photo

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