Male speaker addressing attendees at the oncology professional care conference

Oncology Professional Care Conference: Why is it the go to conference for healthcare professionals

Published: 03 April 2024

Following the success of last year’s Oncology Professional Care Conference, our Lead Medical Advisor Dr Anthony Cunliffe and colleagues from the Centre of Clinical Expertise reflect on their own experiences of the conference and the myriad of benefits of attending for healthcare professionals.

Dr Anthony Cunliffe

Dr Anthony Cunliffe Part-time GP, joint clinical director of South East London Cancer Alliance; National Lead Medical Advisor and Clinical Adviser for London Macmillan Centre of Clinical Expertise

I have had a great experience being involved with the Oncology Professional Care (OPC) conference for the last couple of years. Not many cancer conferences truly aim to bring together people from such a wide range of roles to encourage us to break free from our silos and consider the impact and importance for all professionals.

Assembling those working in health care, public health and the third sector can help us improve outcomes and better experience of care for people living with cancer. Often, as a healthcare professional the conferences I go to may provide excellent insight and learning but cover a narrow scope, but the breadth of topics covered at OPC means I can go from a session on cutting edge technology to hearing about the challenges under-represented groups may experience in engaging with health care. I’ve been encouraged that the organisers see the importance of involving both multi-disciplinary professionals, people affected by cancer and charity organisations in the development of the topics covered ensuring a broad but balanced agenda.

Dr Ash Lillis, National Clinical Advisor and Consultant in Acute Medicine


"I presented for the first time at OPC 2023 and was struck by how well the structure of the conference brought people together from across the cancer pathway. I’m a generalist (acute medicine consultant) and have always been somewhat disappointed by the structure of most cancer conferences. They are focused on site specific streams which do not lend themselves to discussions of the areas that I, and many colleagues care most about- acute admissions, holistic assessment and end of life care.

OPC brought a wide range of professionals to my sessions on acute cancer care and we had a fantastically helpful conversation between nurses, acute medics and oncologists. We discussed the importance of where and when personalised care planning conversations should happen when patients have an unplanned admission. This has informed and influenced work I am undertaking with the UK Acute Oncology Society and Macmillan Cancer Support around conversations in acute cancer care that would not have occurred to be without the session at OPC." 

June Davis, Lead Nursing and AHP Advisor

"This is the third time I have presented at OPC last year in the keynote theatre presenting on the Aspirant Cancer Career and Education Development programme (ACCEND). People attend who are specialists in cancer as well as those wishing to enhance their knowledge in mire generalist roles. There really is something for everyone. We had a great multidisciplinary audience for the ACCEND session. It was an opportunity to update colleagues on the programme and hear their thoughts on the areas of focus we should consider as the programme moves forward. This information has been taken back to the wider programme team for inclusion in the future programme plans and deliverables.

There is a real chance to influence at the event as people attend who lead the cancer alliances in England and as such the event attracts national well renowned speakers."

Professor Richard Simcock, Chief Medical Advisor and Consultant Clinical Oncologist

"Being at OPC is always a pleasure due to the meeting’s ability to bring people from the whole multidisciplinary team together. We treat our patients as a team, so I think it is right that we are educated together as a team and share problems and solutions.

The first time I spoke at OPC I used it as a platform to share some of the Macmillan projects we had worked on and bring them to the widest audience possible. At subsequent meetings I’ve used the opportunity to discuss ‘works in progress’ (on Shared Decision Making and the Future of Cancer Care). This has allowed me to give some data on our thinking and the problems we were trying to solve, but more importantly to get feedback from a wide range of Oncology professionals to build and strengthen those ideas and concepts. I usually come away from OPC with a fistful of useful new contacts and look forward to the next event."


Naman Julka-Anderson, National AHP Advisor and Therapeutic Radiographer 

"I’ve had the pleasure of being involved with OPC since 2022 where, through the podcast Rad Chat I co-host with Jo McNamara, we had a podbox for live podcasting. It is a fantastic event bringing together all aspects of the cancer pathway from diagnosis to late consequences of treatment. There are a wide variety of professionals from clinical staff to NHS commissioners who attend which helps bring together vast amounts of experience and knowledge into one room.

I would highly recommend this conference to anyone who has a passion in supporting people to live with and beyond cancer, and the fact that the conference is free for healthcare professionals to enter is a bonus!"

I’m excited to be involved in OPC again this year and am looking forward to another engaging agenda. Anyone working in cancer, irrespective of role or setting can access relevant sessions and take advantage of the opportunity to develop, learn and explore areas of cancer care that they may not otherwise have access to.

Macmillan Cancer Support will be hosting a Living with and Beyond Cancer Theatre during the 2024 conference. Oncology Professional Care is free to attend for registered healthcare professionals in the NHS or private setting, and other relevant decision-makers only. Register for 2024’s conference.