Reflecting on the opening of the Oak Cancer Centre

We gathered thoughts from staff and patients on the recently opened Oak Cancer Centre – funded by generous supporters of The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

On 8 June, His Royal Highness Prince William, The Prince of Wales, formally opened the Oak Cancer Centre at The Royal Marsden in Sutton.

Funded by the generous supporters of The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity’s £70 million Oak Cancer Centre appeal, the state-of-the-art research and treatment facility will help accelerate the development of new treatments, offering hope for cancer patients worldwide.

A Photograph of the completed Oak Cancer Centre building in Sutton

Helen McCafferty, Lead Nurse for the Oak Cancer Centre

Helen has worked at The Royal Marsden since 1995, gaining a wealth of experience across different departments.

“We are really lucky to have the support of The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity helping make expansions like the Oak Cancer Centre a reality,” says Helen. “Every time I go into the building I think ‘wow’. Not only is it an amazing building with a sense of space, but it’s also tailor-made for the services it will deliver. The attention to detail is evident everywhere, I am so proud that the design will not only enhance our patient experience with a bright and peaceful environment but will also provide us with the best facilities to conduct our work and save more lives.”

A person in nurse uniform, standing in a modern glass building
Helen at the Oak Cancer Centre

“An example of the attention to detail is the medicine cabinets in places like the Olayan Day Care Unit that are now swipe access, rather than lock and key. This will make the process of going in and out of the cabinets all the time so much easier and faster, while ensuring medicine cabinets are as safe as they can be. This will also have a positive impact on patients, as staff will have more time for them as a result.”

“I am also really excited about the Slade Café and roof terrace for staff. Fresh air, sun, and spectacular views will make the perfect place for staff to take a break away from their busy day and recharge.”

Patients at the Oak Cancer Centre

The head and shoulders of a woman sitting on a hospital chair, receiving chemotherapy

Nilly Noowe, 53, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019, which has since metastasised to her lungs. She is receiving chemotherapy in the Oak Cancer Centre’s Olayan Day Care Unit. She said: “The Olayan Day Care Unit is amazing – it feels so spacious and very comfortable. I think it is very important to have a nice environment when you are having treatment, it makes a big difference to your mood.”

Head and shoulders of a woman with blonde hair and a white blouse with a butterfly print

Eileen, 62 from South Croydon, who is being treated for breast cancer at The Royal Marsden, said: “It’s amazing to be in the Oak Cancer Centre – it looks so new and lovely and there’s plenty of room. It was absolutely wonderful to meet Prince William too. He sat down with me and my sister Tara, who is also a patient at The Royal Marsden, and we had a little chat about my treatment, and our experience of the hospital. I’ve been following him since he was a baby, so it was quite surreal to see him here today. Me and Tara have both done lots of fundraising for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, and it's incredible to see what they've achieved through their appeal for this new facility.”

Find out more about this world-class cancer treatment facility.