Dunedin, New Zealand
Organization: Shocking Pink
Melissa Bell was diagnosed with ER+, PR+, HER2+ Stage 3 breast cancer in 2013. She had a bilateral mastectomy, axillary node clearance and 12 weeks of chemotherapy and 6 weeks of radiation therapy.
Three years later Melissa received a lat dorsi with implant reconstructive surgery. Melissa has been a member of many different advocacy groups – these include Shocking Pink (for young women diagnosed with breast cancer), Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition, and Breast Cancer Trials. Melissa is one of two New Zealand consumer representatives on the Consumer Advisory Panel, Breast Cancer Trials. This group advises and supports the development of most large clinical trials in Australia and New Zealand. Advocates are involved in all stages of trial development, from conception through the implementation stage. Melissa is on the organizing panel of the Breast Cancer Trials Annual Scientific Meeting, to be held in Auckland in 2023. This meeting will have a special focus on improving outcomes for indigenous populations, a goal Melissa is passionately committed to. Outside of her breast cancer work, Melissa is a school principal. She has a husband, two adult children and two large and energetic dogs.