December 4, 2006

Contact: Luke Frank, Senior Public Affairs Representative,505/272-3679; cell 505/907-9525

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Las Cruces, NM – The University of New Mexico Cancer Center - South opens its doors to patients this morning as a new cancer care clinic in Las Cruces, NM. The Center is located on the Memorial Medical Center campus, next to the IKARD radiation treatment center.

T he UNM Cancer Center, Memorial Medical Center, and community physicians in Las Cruces will be working side-by-side to provide the highest level of cancer care for patients in southern New Mexico. The official Grand Opening of the Center will be Tuesday, January 9, 2007, at 11 a.m.

Nearly 700 patients seen in the Albuquerque Cancer Center clinic in 2006 were from southern New Mexico. The opening of the UNM Cancer Center – South will enable those patients to receive the best in cancer care, including clinical trials of the latest drugs and therapies, close to their homes, friends and family.

The new Las Cruces facility encompasses 5,300 square feet and features nine exam rooms, allowing space for support services like nutritional counselors and social workers. The infusion suite offers patients a beautiful view of the Organ Mountains while they are receiving treatment.

The Center will be staffed by Katie Rasila, M.D., Medical Oncologist who will interface with community physicians and surgeons who practice throughout southern New Mexico; Sarah Morse, RN, OCN, Charge Nurse; and Robin Trujeque, Receptionist. A second Medical Oncologist will be hired this winter.

Visiting specialists from the UNM Cancer Center in Albuquerque also will conduct monthly clinics for breast, lung, and blood cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma. For more information or to schedule an appointment please call 505/521-1554.

The UNM Cancer Center has been a part of the New Mexico healthcare landscape for nearly 35 years. Founded by the New Mexico State Legislature in 1971, the UNM Cancer Center is the Official Cancer Center of the State of New Mexico.

In 2005, the UNM Cancer Center was designated as one of the nation’s National Cancer Institute (NCI)-Designated, an elite collaborative network of the nation’s top cancer centers. And, in July 2006 UNM was ranked as one of America's Best Cancer Hospitals byUS News & World Report.

The UNM Cancer Center’s Albuquerque clinic treats 38 percent of adult and nearly 100 percent of pediatric cancer cases in New Mexico, managing 3,000 newly diagnosed and 4,900 ongoing patients each year in more than 90,000 ambulatory clinic visits.