Charles M Balch, MD, FACS, FASCO – Surgical Oncologist

Houston, TX— Prominently featured in The Inner Circle, Charles M. Balch, MD, FACS, FASCO is acknowledged as a Pinnacle Lifetime Member for his contributions to Surgical Oncology and Medical Education.

Dr. Charles M. Balch stands as a beacon of excellence in the fields of surgical oncology and medical education, with a global impact that spans continents. With a diverse background and unparalleled expertise, Dr. Balch has dedicated his career to advancing the treatment of cancer and shaping the future of medical professionals worldwide.

Dr. Balch’s journey began with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology, with a minor in chemistry, from the University of Toledo in Ohio. He furthered his education with a prestigious MD from Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, followed by extensive training in general surgical residency at renowned institutions such as Duke University Medical Center and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Dr. Balch honed his skills through specialized fellowships in immunology at the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, as well as clinical administrative research with the National Institutes of Health.

As a board-certified surgeon with more than 49 years in the medical field, Dr. Balch’s impact extends far beyond the operating room. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and has held leadership positions in numerous prestigious organizations, including serving as Past President of the Society of Surgical Oncology and Chair of the executive committee for the Commission on Cancer. His contributions to melanoma staging as Chair of the melanoma staging committee for the American Joint Committee on Cancer have been instrumental in advancing cancer care worldwide. A leading authority in both melanoma and breast cancer, as well as immunotherapy, Dr. Balch has made significant contributions to laboratory research in tumor immunology and human T lymphocyte differentiation. He is the author of more than 840 publications which have been cited more than 35,000 times in the biomedical literature (an average of 75 citations per article, h-index of 89).

In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Balch has been deeply involved in medical education and research throughout his career. He has served as Executive Vice President and CEO for the American Society of Clinical Oncology and played pivotal roles in organizations such as the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and the Association for Academic Surgeons. Dr. Balch’s commitment to education is further evidenced by his involvement with the founding boards of the NASA Space Center in Houston and the NASA Astronaut Medical Standards Committee.

A renowned and exceptional leader in multiple arenas, Dr. Balch is the Founding Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of the Annals of Surgical Oncology, which is recognized as the leading journal in the world in its field, with more than 11,000 surgical and library subscribers in 110 countries; Co-Editor-in-Chief of Chinese Clinical Oncology; Founding Editor-in-Chief of Patient Resource Cancer Guides now in its 15th year, which distributes nearly one million cancer guides (with 51 different titles) to cancer patients each year; President of Cancer Expert Now International; President of International Sentinel Node Society; Professor and Past-Chair of Surgery of the Department of Surgical Oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. He is the former Executive Vice-President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Alexandria, Virginia; President and CEO, City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California; Professor of Surgery, Oncology and Dermatology; Deputy Director for Clinical Trials and Outcomes Research; Director of Johns Hopkins Clinical Research Network Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore, Maryland.

Further, Dr. Balch has served on The American Board of Surgery (Board of Directors); the Association of Academic Surgeons (President); The International Sentinel Node Society (as President); the Commission on Cancer (Chair, Board of Directors); the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (Founding Board of Directors); and the American Joint Committee on Cancer (Executive Committee). He holds honorary memberships in 12 national surgical organizations (including the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons; the Japan Surgical Society; the National Academy of Medicine of Mexico; and the European Society of Surgical Oncology); a Ph.D degree (honora causa) from the University of Crete; a Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Association of Surgical Oncology; National Academy of Medicine of Mexico Honorary Member; Professor Emeritus from John Hopkins University; and the Highest Alumni Award from his alma mater, The University of Toledo.

The doctor has lectured in more than 42 different countries in the world and most of the major academic centers in the United States. As one of the leading melanoma experts in the world, Dr. Balch is the editor of Cutaneous Melanoma, regarded as the authoritative textbook on melanoma, now in its 6th edition through Spring Publications. His contributions to the melanoma literature include over 147 published articles, 6 books, and 154 book chapters or invited educational articles regarding his clinical investigations involving the natural history of melanoma, prognostic factors predicting clinical outcome, and standards of surgical treatment. He has published extensively on the conduct and methodology of clinical research. Dr Balch, Dr Seng-jaw Soong and colleagues performed one of the first prognostic factors analysis for melanoma in a landmark paper which was the first to use the Cox multifactorial regression analysis. They were the first to identify the major prognostic factors for Stage I, II and III melanoma that were the independent predictor of survival, including melanoma ulceration as a key predictor of metastases and interferon sensitivity. Their research on the natural history and predictive factors of melanoma clinical outcome essentially redefined the criteria now used worldwide for stratification criteria and end results reporting of clinical trials as well as TNM staging for melanoma.

Dr. Balch is an acclaimed expert in the area of breast cancer and was one of the co-co-principal investigators of the only randomized surgical trial that compared Halsted radical mastectomy with modified radical mastectomy and was one of the pioneers of skin-sparing mastectomies followed by immediate breast reconstruction. As a distinguished professional in immunology research, he was the first to demonstrate that T lymphocytes were bone marrow derived and then processed in the thymus, and first described T lymphocyte distribution in various animal species including rats, guinea pigs, rabbits and monkeys. He was also the first to describe human NK and T Cell differentiation antigens, including the widely studied CD57 lymphocyte antigen. He has numerous articles about tumor and transplantation immunology, with more than 100 scientific publications and book chapters.

Dr. Balch attributes much of his success to the guidance and mentorship of esteemed figures in medicine, including the late Dr. Donald Morton, Dr. John R. Durant, and Dr. R. Lee Clark, Jr. Their influence has shaped his approach to patient care, research, and leadership.

Beyond his professional accomplishments, Dr. Balch is deeply involved in his communities, serving as an Elder and member of multiple churches. He also contributes to humanitarian efforts as Chair of the Board of Directors for Undying Hope International.

As Dr. Balch continues to leave an indelible mark on the field of surgical oncology and medical education, his legacy of excellence and compassion serves as an inspiration to all who have the privilege of working alongside him.

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