Melanie Royce, MD, PhD
Dr. Melanie Royce is a breast cancer specialist at the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Credit: UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center

Breast cancer specialist Dr. Melanie Royce was recently named to the American Cancer Society's Great West Division Board of Directors. Royce is a professor of medicine at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine and directs the Breast Multidisciplinary Clinic and Program at the UNM Cancer Center.

“The American Cancer Society strives to include medical professionals in their boards,” said Royce. “I’ll participate on the board not just as a breast cancer specialist but as a cancer specialist.”

The Great West Division is one of 11 Cancer Society divisions, comprising more states and land area than any of the others. In each division, a board of directors sets the priorities and oversees the programs that adapt the national ACS’s focus to the region’s specific needs. Dr. Royce will be one of 24 members on the Great West Division’s board. She has committed to a one-year term which she could extend for up to three years.

As a cancer expert and a cancer physician, Royce will help the board ensure that the guidelines it adopts are based on scientific principles and strong evidence.

“The American Cancer Society has a lot of impact when it establishes guidelines for screening,” she said.

Her role will be to help others understand and interpret information that may or may not support a particular guideline change or proposal. Royce recently met with Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the ACS.

“He said people are motivated and have good hearts but are not always highly scientific, and that as a healthcare professional, I must help people to do what’s right,” Royce recalled.

Royce will also help the Great West Division board determine which areas the region should focus on and how it should allocate the money it raises to make the greatest impact.

“Raising awareness, setting priorities, making recommendations,” Royce said. “That’s where I could be most helpful.”