HEALTH Secretary Jeremy Hunt has praised the Gazette’s support for a campaign for a new cancer centre in Colchester and said: “You must keep campaigning on cancer issues.”

Colchester Hospitals’ Charity, backed by the Gazette, is trying to raise £4.5million for a new cancer centre at Colchester General Hospital, which would allow all cancer services to be brought together in a centre of excellence.

The centre would allow all cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and blood cancer treatments, to be carried out in the same place, with areas for complementary therapists, Macmillan nurses and voluntary groups.

Donations and sponsorship have raised more than £790,000 so far, but more pledges and funds are still desperately needed.

If the Cancer Centre Campaign is successful, the centre will be built on top of the new radiotherapy centre at the hospital.

Colchester Hospital’s cancer specialists are also now fighting to keep urological cancer surgery at the hospital.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines state the specialist surgery for cancers, relating to the kidney, prostate and bladder, should only be carried out at one centre – either Colchester or Southend.

Mr Hunt was visiting Colchester General Hospital to support the Conservative Parliamentary candidate Will Quince.

He said: “The commitment about where urology surgery goes is decided by doctors.

“Our commitment on cancer is that wewant to be the best in Europe.

“We inherited some of the lowest cancer survival rates, but cancer services are expanding more every year.

“We are absolutely committed to do better on cancer. It has been a bug bear for a long time as to why the NHS does not do better.

“You must keep on campaigning on cancer issues.”

Click here to read more about the cancer centre campaign.

  • Other candidates contesting the Colchester seat are Mark Goacher (Green), Jordan Newell (Labour), John Pitts (Ukip), Will Quince (Conservative), Sir Bob Russell (Lib Dem), Ken Scrimshaw (Christian People’s Alliance).
  • Learn more about all the candidates here.