Toddler and nurse in corridor

​Treating children with cancer

Thanks to your support, The Oak Centre for Children and Young People opened in Sutton in 2011 and has been changing the way The Royal Marsden treats children with cancer ever since. Discover what happens in the centre.

Designed for - and by - children

Dr Julia Chisholm, Head of the The Oak Centre for Children and Young People (OCCYP), says "We’ve been treating childhood cancers at The Royal Marsden since the early 1970s, but the OCCYP is a facility designed especially for children and young people.

Our young patients are treated by our teams in a specialist, age-appropriate facility with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. We also have one of the largest stem cell transplant services in the UK.

The centre includes a playroom, therapies rooms, chill-out zones, school and study rooms, parent areas, and an outdoor roof terrace. Many of the young patients helped design the centre.

Every year we treat
5,000 day patients
at The Oak Centre for Children and Young People
Lottie Woods-John and Play Specialist Claire Riddell
Lottie with Play Specialist Claire Riddell

"The play specialists were wonderful"

Charley is mum to three-year-old patient Lottie, who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare childhood cancer.  

Lottie would only talk to me, refused to get out of bed, and was terrified of the playroom and the play team too.

They have worked solidly to earn her trust, and today, she runs up the corridors shouting their names, squealing with excitement.

We’ve served up 155,000 meals in our two kitchens since the centre opened. We cook whatever our patients like to eat, as their taste buds often change with treatment.

Shirley Moore, Head Cook at the centre

World-leading cancer research and treatment

The OCCYP is one of the most comprehensive children’s cancer centres in Europe, but it’s also home to one of the largest drug development programmes for childhood cancer.

For the first time worldwide, young patients are now offered early access to trials of new cancer drugs that have been developed by experts in our own laboratories. We’re now the UK’s leading centre for Phase I and II drug trials for children.

Thanks to the number of studies we run, we now have more options available to treat a wider range of childhood cancers than ever before.

We need your help

Your support meant we could build the centre, but we need help to continue our care for children and young people with cancer.