Sir Bobby fights for Ipswich cancer care

IPSWICH Town footballing legend Sir Bobby Robson has today called for a rethink of plans to scrap some cancer services from Ipswich Hospital.Robson said he received outstanding care from Ipswich Hospital when he was diagnosed with a life-threatening malignant melanoma behind his eye.

Rebecca Lefort

IPSWICH Town footballing legend Sir Bobby Robson has today called for a rethink of plans to scrap some cancer services from Ipswich Hospital.

Robson said he received outstanding care from Ipswich Hospital when he was diagnosed with a life-threatening malignant melanoma behind his eye.

Now, the Anglia Cancer Network (ACN) is recommending that patients needing surgery for head and neck cancer should travel to Norwich for treatment.

Robson, and the expert surgeon who he credits with saving his life, are concerned expertise may be lost and patients regularly forced to travel long distances as a result.

The 75-year-old, who is currently doing well after several battles with cancer in recent years, said: “I heard a whisper it might happen and I was perturbed about it.

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“The service I had in Ipswich Hospital was first class and couldn't have been better.

“There were great facilities and I'm really disappointed some of these might be removed from the Ipswich area.

“Norwich is a long way to go and not everyone can afford the travel.

“If there is a campaign to keep head and neck cancer surgery in Ipswich I'll be the first to support it.”

Sir Bobby said he understood that some specialist treatments would always result in patients needing to travel, as he did in 1995 when he had the malignant melanoma removed from behind his eye at the cancer-only hospital, The Royal Marsden in London.

But Sir Bobby said the complex operation, which involved surgeons going through the roof of Robson's mouth to reach the tumour, was made easier by the presence of specialist oral health surgeon Huw Davies, who still works at Ipswich Hospital, operating on head and neck cancer patients.

He also had radiotherapy and post-care treatment at Ipswich and said he was impressed by the hospital's department.

A public consultation into the proposed changes, which would still see initial diagnosis and follow-up care at Ipswich Hospital, will now run until June 4 this year.

Copies of the consultation document are available at www.suffolkpct.nhs.uk/consultation.

Later this year there will also be forums in Aldeburgh, Stowmarket, Kesgrave and Bury St Edmunds.

Are you worried about the changes at Ipswich Hospital? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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