Evening Echo campaign saves cancer services

The Mayor of Southend, whose daughter died of cancer, has helped the Evening Echo win a campaign to safeguard cancer services in south Essex.

The Hands Off Our Cancer Unit campaign was launched by the newspaper after local cancer services came under threat.

It followed a recommendation by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence that the services for less common cancers should provide care for a population of one million.

South Essex Cancer Network serves a patient base of 715,000 which meant some services could have been switched to Norwich and other towns in the east.

After a 15-month battle and a visit from Government cancer “csar” Prof Mike Richards, doctors have been told their future in Essex is safe.

Echo editor Martin McNeill said: “On the day we launched our campaign, the Mayor of Southend lost his daughter to cancer.

“He backed our campaign and posed for a picture outside the Southend Hospital cancer centre within hours of his daughter dying.

“This campaign mustered thousands of signatures on a petition and was raised in the House of Commons. Finally we were told the one million figure would not count in south Essex.

“We were delighted to spearhead such a worthwhile campaign which clearly meant so much to the people of south Essex.”

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