Southend Hospital is one of just 12 centres across the country to provide innovate new prostate cancer treatment using a pioneering “hydrogel” device.

The gel can be used to minimise the exposure of certain parts of the body to radiation when patients are being treated for prostate cancer.

This means side-effects such as pain and bleeding can be significantly reduced by as much as 70 per cent.

The treatment was all made possible thanks to a £15,000 donation which helped fund a 12-patient feasibility study, with the first patient, Terry Judd, from Thundersley, being successfully treated in June.­­

The 71-year-old said: “I think this is a big step forward in cancer treatment because it helps to remove the side effects.

“I became aware of the trial when I saw an article so I took the cutting in to show my consultant who explained that it was very expensive.

“I didn’t think it was going to happen and then the hospital received the charitable donation to pay for my treatment.

“Since finishing my treatment, I’ve not experienced any deterioration or side effects. I want to thank everyone who donated because without that money I might not have received this treatment.”

The donation included £10,500 from Lions Clubs of South East Essex, £1,500 from Cadgers - a prostate cancer support group, £1,500 from Mark Iles in memory of his father Alan, £250 from the Castle Point Masonic Lodge and £1,250 from the Southend Hospital Charitable Foundation.

Mr Tim Watts, Zone 2b Chairman of Lions Clubs of South East Essex, said: “Many of us have either undergone or know someone who has undergone the sometimes-damaging side effects of life saving cancer treatment and know how unpleasant they can be.

“This trial has the potential to facilitate a step change in prostate cancer care for the community. We wanted to help make that difference.”

James Green, Consultant Clinical Scientist and head of radiotherapy at Southend Hospital, said: “Our community’s tireless efforts have helped to bring the latest, state-of-the-art techniques to local patients.”

It is a tremendous effort, and one for which we are truly grateful.”