The Nancy Floyd Haworth Foundation (NFHF) has selected Dr. Melanie Royce of the University of New Mexico Cancer Center to receive the Foundation’s 2009 Spirit of Hope Award. The Spirit of Hope is the NFHF’s signature award, and since 1992, has been awarded to individuals who have made a significant difference in the lives of those affected by breast cancer. The award is based on research, advancing education, treatment and community support.
Royce was recruited to the UNM Cancer Center from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in 2004 and directs both the Multidisciplinary Breast Cancer Program and the Hereditary Cancer Assessment Program at the UNM Cancer Center. Past award recipient and NFHF member Kathleen McVicker said, “Dr. Royce’s reputation as an outstanding oncologist is well known throughout New Mexico and the entire Southwest. One only has to speak to her patients and co-workers to know how caring and capable she is. She remains actively involved in the care of her breast cancer patients and is constantly seeking new and better treatment options through research and clinical trials.”
In addition to her clinical work, Royce is an accomplished researcher and has led a number of scientific efforts at the UNM Cancer Center, which is the state’s only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center. She serves on the editorial advisory board for the journal Oncology and the Internet Journal of Oncology. Royce has been a principal investigator and co-investigator for numerous clinical trials and various research studies, and has published 50 journal articles and 20 book chapters and editorials.
Royce’s efforts have garnered the attention of community organizations, and she is often invited to speak at gatherings. She has given presentations for the American Cancer Society Breast Cancer Core Team’s annual “Breast Cancer Awareness Brunch,” Sandia National Laboratories’ “Mission: Hope” lecture series, and is a four-time presenter for the NFHF’s free educational seminars, which is more than any other local medical professional. “It’s an honor to be invited to keep coming back to give talks to the public. The annual Nancy Floyd Haworth Foundation event is a great forum to increase awareness about breast cancer and introduce updates about breast cancer prevention, screening and treatments,” Royce said. This year, Royce’s NFHF seminar session will focus on lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise to mitigate breast cancer risk.
According to Sue Hutchison, NFHF board president, “Dr. Royce has done so much for our mission of education, and she is a very compassionate caregiver. We just feel that we’ve been so blessed by having her as a friend. We greatly value her contributions to the field of breast cancer in our community. She’s an outstanding physician and we’re most grateful to her.”
“The Nancy Floyd Haworth Foundation is really a testament to the power of what a specific personal loss can do to empower not just the family but now the community, to increase awareness about breast cancer,” Royce said. “They raise crucial funds not only for the UNM Cancer Center, but also the YWCA Health Equity Program and other health centers in the area. To be recognized by such an outstanding organization is such an honor and privilege, and I am very humbled by this award.”
“Albuquerque is fortunate to have the excellent services of Dr. Royce, not only as a skilled medical professional caring for patients from New Mexico and throughout the Southwest at the UNM Cancer Center, but also as a willing and capable community volunteer,” wrote McVicker. “There is no one more worthy for the 2009 Spirit of Hope award than Dr. Melanie Royce.”
The UNM Cancer Center is the Official Cancer Center of the State of New Mexico, and one of only 63 National Cancer Institute designated cancer centers in the nation. It is home to 85 board-certified oncology physicians representing every cancer specialty and more than 120 research scientists hailing from such prestigious institutions as M.D.
Anderson, Johns Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic. Last year, the UNM Cancer Center served more than 7,600 new patients in 84,000 patient visits.