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Charles M. Balch, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Charles M. Balch, M.D., F.A.C.S.

  • Professor of Surgery and Oncology and Dermatology
  • Deputy Director, Johns Hopkins Institute for Clinical and Translational Research

Dr. Charles M. Balch leads a distinguished career as a clinical and academic surgical oncologist and a leading authority in both melanoma and breast cancer. As revered teacher, astute administrator, and world-renowned speaker, he continues to build networks in the field of clinical trials and outcomes research. Over the past 30 years he has authored over 600 publications on topics such as, clinical investigations involving the natural history of melanoma, prognostic factors predicting clinical outcomes, standards of surgical treatment, and the conduct and methodology of clinical research and immunology. Dr Balch is generally regarded as one of the leading melanoma experts in the world. He is the editor of Cutaneous Melanoma, regarded as the authoritative textbook on melanoma, now in its 5th edition.  He is the founding Editor-in-Chief of the Annals of Surgical Oncology and is Chair of the Melanoma Staging Committee of the AJCC.

Prior to coming to Johns Hopkins, Dr. Balch held major leadership roles involving clinical research in three comprehensive cancer centers (UAB, M D Anderson, and City of Hope). He has been a Principle Investigator or Co-PI of numerous clinical trials, including 10 phase III trials, most of which were NCI-funded National Phase III trials. He has organized or participated in randomized surgical trials that have defined the current standards of melanoma surgery. Dr. Balch’s leadership roles have involved the Society of Surgical Oncology (President), the American Board of Surgery (Board of Directors), the Association of Academic Surgeons (President) and the Commission on Cancer (Chair, Board of Directors) and the American Joint Committee on Cancer (Executive Committee).

Dr. Balch has over 30 years of experience in breast cancer management and research. He has multiple publications with scientific articles and book chapters involving the multidisciplinary and surgical management of breast diseases. His clinical trials leadership in breast cancer in the 1980s and 1990s included the only randomized surgical trial comparing radial vs. modified radical mastectomy, as well as the early development of skin-sparing mastectomy and immediate breast construction; two major advances at the time which contributed to the evolution of breast surgery. He was also one of the early pioneers on developing the sentinel lymph node biopsy in the staging of breast cancer, especially in breast cancer patients who had received pre-operative chemotherapy. Dr Balch was the founding editor of Breast Diseases, which is now in its eighteenth year of publication.

Research Interests:

  • Clinical trials
  • Biological therapy for cancer
  • Sentinel lymph nodes
  • Cancer biomarkers

Clinical Interests:

  • Melanoma
  • Breast Cancer


  • Medical School: Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons
  • Residency: Duke and University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical Centers
  • Fellowship: Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation


  • American Board of Surgery

 Contact Information:

Patient Referrals for Melanoma: 410-614-1022
Patient Referrals for Breast Surgery: 443-287-2778
Clinical Information/Updates on Current Patients: 410-502-5977
Academic Office: 410-614-6686
Fax: 410-502-0403

View Dr. Balch's C.V.


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