The American Cancer Society, the nation's leading voluntary health organization, recently honored professionals who embody excellence in cancer care.

The Society presented the Lane W. Adams Award to members of the health care community for their exemplary work with cancer patients and their families. The American Cancer Society gives the award, its most prestigious national prize, to recognize outstanding individuals ranging from social workers and chaplains to nurses and doctors.

``The concept of the award is 'the warm hand of service.' Acknowledging those who make this human connection is an integral part of the American Cancer Society's commitment to excellence in caring,'' said Genevieve V. Foley, R.N., M.S.N., chair of the Lane W. Adams Award Committee. ``The winners were selected because they consistently demonstrate a dedication to improving quality of life for those with cancer.''

The honorees represent a wide range of professional specialties, providing a glimpse at how many aspects there are to this disease and how important each area is to the comprehensive care of cancer patients and their families.

Kathleen Brady, O.P., M.A., a chaplain at St. Joseph's Hospital in Milwaukee, Wis., tries to help patients live with hope, and if it comes to it, die with dignity.

Margaret Cawley, M.S., R.N., A.N.P., an oncology clinical nurse specialist at New York Hospital Queens in Flushing, N.Y., addresses people's needs no matter where they are in the cancer experience.

Barbara Hale, L.C.S.W., a social worker at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick, N.J., treats the spiritual and psychological needs of people with physical illness.

Kathleen Hardy, M.S.W., C.S.W., program director at Gilda's Club in metro Detroit, creates an environment where people with cancer can feel comfortable.

James Lockhart Jr., M.D., a surgeon with Surgical Associates, Inc. in Tulsa, Okla., aims to make quality care accessible to all who need it.

Sheila Morris, B.S., a child life specialist at the CS Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich., helps children deal with cancer while still being kids.

Robert Perkel, M.D., a physician in the department of family medicine at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, aims never to lose sight of the fact that each patient is a member of a family and must be treated in his or her context.

Katherine Seibert, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.P., chief of Medical Oncology at the Community General Hospital of Sullivan County in Harris, N.Y., has built a cancer program where once there was none.

Lillie Shockney, R.N., B.S., M.A.S., director of Education and Outreach at the Johns Hopkins Breast Center in Baltimore, Md., makes it her goal to support people on their journey from patients to survivors.

Regina White, R.N., B.S.N., O.C.N., a nurse at the Women's Diagnostic Center at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., applies her years of experience in nursing as well as listening.

Catherine Wiggins, R.N., director of hospice at West Georgia Hospice/Hospice LaGrange in LaGrange, Ga., focuses on quality of life for all people with cancer.

Each winner was chosen from a pool of candidates nominated by people in their community who have witnessed the life-altering work they perform.