Grieving family blast cancer proposals

LOVED ones of a mother who died from pancreatic cancer today criticised controversial proposals to axe specialist services at Ipswich Hospital.

LOVED ones of a mother who died from pancreatic cancer today criticised controversial proposals to axe specialist services at Ipswich Hospital.

Christine Peachey, from Barham, died in September 2006 at the age of 50 after a 20-month battle with the disease.

She was treated in Ipswich - but under measures being proposed by health bosses, she would have been taken to Addenbrooke's in Cambridge for surgery.

Her husband, Richard, and sister, Lynda Cooper, blasted plans to switch services to Addenbrooke's, claiming the situation would have made it much harder for them to cope.

The East of England Specialised Commissioning Group (SCG) will tomorrow discuss its proposal and a decision could be made.

The SCG says that by creating a centre of excellence in Cambridge it will improve the cancer's extremely low survival rate.

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But Mr Peachey said: “When my wife was diagnosed on January 3, 2005, I did not know what it meant.

“I went home to look it up on the computer and then sat there with my head in my hands. The research into this illness hasn't really advanced in the last 35 years and it is the fourth biggest killer in the US.

“I knew there could only be one outcome but I had two teenage daughters to look after and had to carry on as normal.

“It would have made it all the more harder if we had to travel to Cambridge. We were just going through the mill but if we had to go to Cambridge everyday, it would have been difficult to cope with.”

Sister Mrs Cooper said: “Christine responded to chemotherapy but it never goes, they just control it.

“My other sister, Pat Mitchell, was under treatment at the time for breast cancer so we were all over the place.

“When you have someone with a long-term illness, you have to manage your life. It is bad enough getting to Ipswich Hospital regularly to visit people but with a 100-mile roundtrip, that would have been impossible.

“She desperately needed the support of all her family around her. We have nothing but praise for Ipswich Hospital.”

A fundraising ball with a meal, organised by Christine's family and friends, is being held at the Novotel in Ipswich next month to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer UK. There are due to be about 170 friends and family attending the event.

Anyone who would like to give a donation to the charity through Mrs Cooper or donate prizes for their draw at the ball should call her on 01473 832419. For more information visit

Are you worried about moves to switch pancreatic cancer surgery to Cambridge? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail

IPSWICH Hospital made a bid to become the specialist centre for pancreatic cancer surgery in the East of England, but the SCG said Addenbrooke's was better suited.

Pancreatic cancer is rare with around 7,600 new cases diagnosed each year in the UK.

It has the lowest survival chances of any cancer and is the sixth most common cause of all cancer deaths.