HOSPITAL staff past and present who have contributed to the success of the Churchill Cancer Centre have gathered to celebrate its 10th anniversary today.

The centre in Headington has become a leading institution for cancer care and research since it opened in 2009 with Oxford University Hospitals laying on a special birthday bash in the foyer to mark the occasion.

Speaking at the celebrations, new chair at OUH, Professor Sir Jonathan Montgomery thanked the staff and highlighted how the centre had always been 'organised around patients and their families'.

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Trust-wide cancer lead, Nick Maynard, who was on cake-cutting duties said the facility rivalled any other cancer centre in the UK.

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He added: "The experience for the patients who are going through a terribly difficult time has improved enormously as a result of the cancer centre.

"I think we can be very very proud of the experience patients get and the huge improvements in outcomes in cancer that we have seen over the last 10 years."

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The Cancer Centre has brought all cancer services under one roof in Oxford and over the last decade has become regarded as a world leader in research and cancer care.

Former cancer consultant at the hospital, Dr Chris Alcock, who is largely responsible for bringing the idea of the cancer centre to reality added: "I never imagined it was going to be such a major project.

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"I thought it would bring improvements yes, but this is way beyond what I imagined and it's largely down to the great people we have hear in Oxford in terms of the research and treatment."

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The cancer centre provides surgery (including keyhole and robot-assisted), radiotherapy (including Brachytherapy and other technically specialised forms of radiation), chemotherapy (including highly personalised treatment options), and radiologically guided treatment (ablation therapy where the abnormal tissue is destroyed).

The cancer centre also offers psychotherapy support for cancer patients who experience mental health issues during their treatment.

Approximately 2000 members of staff work at the cancer centre, which serves a population of two and a half million from across Oxfordshire and the surrounding counties.

Over 1,500 patients visit the centre every week for chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery and diagnostic treatment.

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Over the last 10 years, the centre has provided the most advanced care as well as state of the art facilities. Oxford Hospitals Charity has fundraised for those ‘extras’ not available through NHS funding, which has also ensured the centre had the best equipment and facilities for our expert clinical teams and their patients.

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Dr Douglas Graham, Oxford Hospitals Charity’s Chief Executive, said: “If you spend any time at the Churchill’s Cancer Centre you cannot help but be utterly inspired by the dedicated staff who work here. At Oxford Hospitals Charity we know that so many patients, who make donations, undertake fundraising events and challenges or indeed leave a gift in their will to the cancer centre, are doing so to say thank you for the care they or a loved one has received from these wonderful NHS teams.”

“Ten years ago we asked for help from the Oxfordshire community public to raise £3 million to fund some of the very best medical equipment and facilities for the Cancer and Haematology Centre. Today we ask that those that have a special place in their heart for this centre to consider making a regular gift of £10 to allow us to continue our important work.”

The 10th anniversary celebrations saw staff gather near the main entrance of the cancer centre for a ceremonial cake cutting ceremony.

While bosses also ordered in 2,000 celebratory cup cakes from Summertown bakers Happy Cakes for the rest of the staff and patients on the day.

 Oxford Mail: Julia Atkinson (centre) from Summertown-based Happy Cakes with Claire Parada-Lane (left) and Mathew Grainger (right) picture with the 2,000 cup cakes. Pic by Ed Nix.

Owner of Happy Cakes, Julia Atkinson said: "It's a massive deal to be able to help celebrate the 10th anniversary of the cancer centre.

"We baked more or less two days solid to get all of them done."