Charles and Camilla visit University College Hospital cancer centre

17:12 31 January 2013

The royal couple met Katherine Jenkins at the Macmillan Cancer Support unit in the University College Hospital in central London. Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire

The royal couple met Katherine Jenkins at the Macmillan Cancer Support unit in the University College Hospital in central London. Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall were shown around a new £100million cancer centre at the University College Hospital in London today.

The Prince of Wales unveiled a wooden plaque at the hospital. Picture: John Stillwell/PA WireThe Prince of Wales unveiled a wooden plaque at the hospital. Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire

The royal couple was left marvelling at an innovative cancer treatment that can deliver chemotherapy through a backpack.

Patients can visit the hospital’s Macmillan Cancer Centre and have a chemo backpack or bum bag fitted and then go out shopping, sightseeing or just have the freedom to move around the building.

The modern facility opened in April last year and with its bare concrete walls and open plan design has the feel of a stylish office block and even boasts floor murals by Grayson Perry.

It treats patients as a whole with University College Hospital staff providing conventional outpatient care on the centre’s upper floors, and at ground level Macmillan run a walk-in service for emotional support and advice alongside complementary treatments like yoga, massage and aromatherapy.

The Prince of Wales met with cancer patient Carol Sealey and her husband Steve during the tour. Picture: John Stillwell/PA WireThe Prince of Wales met with cancer patient Carol Sealey and her husband Steve during the tour. Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Charles is patron of Macmillan Cancer Support and was joined for the visit by Welsh mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins.

The singer, who wore a figure-hugging electric blue dress by Victoria Beckham, is an ambassador for Macmillan and has personal experience of the work of its nurses as her father died of lung cancer when she was a teenager.

The performer is planning to run a marathon to raise funds for the cancer charity and her sister works for its intelligence and research team.

She said: “It’s kind of a family charity. When my father was sick I was 15 and my sister was 13, and the Macmillan nurses came in to take care of him and help my mother. And ever since then we’ve tried to say thank you and do our little bit.

The Duchess of Cornwall talked with cancer patient Angela King. Picture: John Stillwell/PA WireThe Duchess of Cornwall talked with cancer patient Angela King. Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire

“My family last year cycled from London to Paris and my sister Laura works for Macmillan, and I’m running the marathon this year in aid of Macmillan.

Camilla later visited University College London Hospital’s inpatient adolescent ward in her role as president of JDRF (former known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), the Type 1 diabetes charity.

The charity funds research to cure, prevent and treat the debilitating condition as well as support for children and adults who are diagnosed with it.

The Duchess was joined by the actor Jeremy Irvine, star of Steven Speilberg’s blockbuster War Horse, who was diagnosed with type one diabetes at the age of just six.

Type 1 diabetes develops when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin. This leads to increased blood glucose levels which can, in turn, cause serious damage to body organs.

Researchers are still trying to discover what causes the disease but it is likely to be genetic and is not caused by general health or diet.

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