A MAN given ten years to live after being diagnosed with prostate cancer says Southend Hospital saved his life.

Terry Fane, 72, was diagnosed in 2004 and underwent radiotherapy and treatment at Southend Hospital.

He is backing the Echo’s campaign to keep the urological cancer surgery in the borough, over fears it could be moved to Colchester.

The proposals from the National Institute of Clinical Excellence are to create a centralised service in the county.

Mr Fane said: “The treatment was excellent. The people who cared for me were very good. I cannot speak highly enough of them and have nothing but praise for the work they do.

“I can’t believe they are thinking of moving the surgery to Colchester.

“After the treatment for prostate you find yourself unable to control your toilet and having to dash to different places to go to the toilet. You have to be careful as you could be in a terrible situation.

“If I was ever to travel to Colchester, I could find myself in a dilemma.”

Eleven years on from his incurable diagnoses, Mr Fane is still in regular contact with the hospital.

He said: “I take each day as it comes and I don’t know what will happen. At the moment, the cancer is suppressed and under control, but you don’t know how long that’s going to last for.

“It would be a great concern if I needed emergency surgery.

“At my age it’s a concern travelling that far, it’s ridiculous. For people older than me, it is too far to travel for emergency treatment.

“The money spent on that unit in Southend will be wasted if they move the surgery.

“We should keep it in Southend.”

WHAT do you think of the proposals?

Westcliff GP Dr Marimuthu Velmurugan said: “People shall suffer.

By the time they are diagnosed, they are often in pain and they cannot travel to Colchester. This is the cutting and butchering of the service.”

Cancer sufferer Kevin Hughes, 58, of Canvey said: “I think two centres are needed for patients.

“From a physiology point of view, when you are treated, they give you an enema and fill you with water, so you don’t want to be sitting on public transport for too long.

“The last thing you need during treatment is to deal with a long journey.

It’s not really ideal.”

Resident Graham Palmer, 62, of Rayleigh said: “None of the units should be shut down, unless you’ve got cancer, you don’t know what it’s like.

“People don’t want to be going from here to Colchester. It’s bad enough having cancer.”

Joe Cooke, a public governor at Southend Hospital and Labour parliamentary candidate for Castle Point, said, given the right resources, Southend could become a centre of excellence for urological surgery He added: “Clearly we would like to be the centre, but I don’t like at all anything that puts trusts in competition.”

Sir David Amess said: “Southend Hospital has a very good urology unit which must be kept open, especially given our town’s aging population.

“I believe both units should remain open as both of them have specialised doctors and the distance many patients would be forced to travel is unacceptable.

“I am frankly appalled by this proposal and will not allow it to happen.”