Town to get cancer surgical centre

SUFFERERS of a rare form of cancer who live in Suffolk may face having to travel across the county border for their operations, it has emerged.An external assessment team has decided that the Mid-Anglia surgical centre for Upper GI - stomach and oesophagus - cancer, should be at the Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford.

SUFFERERS of a rare form of cancer who live in Suffolk may face having to travel across the county border for their operations, it has emerged.

An external assessment team has decided that the Mid-Anglia surgical centre for Upper GI - stomach and oesophagus - cancer, should be at the Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford.

The recommendation will be discussed at a board meeting of the Mid Anglia Cancer Network (MACN) in the coming months.

If passed, it will mean suffers of upper GI cancer will have to travel from their homes across Suffolk into Essex for their operations.


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A spokesman for the MACN explained that the specialist surgical centres are only being set up for rare forms of the illness.

He added: "This is a rare form of cancer - if you consider that the population of the MACN area is one million people, there are about 100 cases across the patch which would require surgery.

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"If the recommendation is passed then people from places like Ipswich and Clacton would have to go down to Chelmsford for the surgical part of their treatment.

"That would mean about 30 people a year who would go to Ipswich will have to go to Chelmsford."

The spokesman explained that the specialist centres are aimed at improving standards of care and increasing the number of positive surgical outcomes.

He added: "We recognise that it would be more convenient in terms of transport for people to go locally for surgery, but I would suggest that cancer sufferers would be more interested in the eventual outcome than convenience."

Michael Harvey, who has been carrying out upper GI cancer operations at Broomfield Hospital since 1992, said he was 'very pleased' with the news.

He added: "We will be working very closely with our colleagues from Colchester and Ipswich to ensure that patients who undergo surgery in Chelmsford continue to receive the high standards of treatment that they have received to date in all three trusts, while minimising the inconvenience for those who have to travel."

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