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A £650,000 support centre is on its way to offer crucial help and advice to the 19 people who are diagnosed with cancer every day.

Work is well under way on the new centre, a partnership between Macmillan cancer care and Southend Hospital, where it is being built.

It is due to open in the new year and it will have a quiet room, leaflets on all types of cancer and benefits information, a Macmillan nurse on hand every day, a wellbeing room for reflexology and other treatments, as well as a meeting room for support groups.

Michelle Bath, Macmillan development manager for Essex, said: “We are very much looking forward to having the new Macmillan information and support centre open.

“We know 19 people every day are told they have cancer in Essex, so there is a real need to have a local centre offering information and support in Southend.

“The hospital is a hub for cancer treatment, with patients travelling from all parts of south Essex and occasionally as far as Mid-Essex, for example Chelmsford, for treatment.

“There are currently no formal facilities at Southend to offer cancer information and support, so this will make a real difference.

“It is thanks to the partnership we have with the Trust and the generous support of people fundraising for Macmillan that we hope to fulfil our aim, to make sure no one faces cancer alone.”

Former patients Janet Wagstaff and Roger Bassett, of Southend, Castle Point and Rochford User Involvement Group, raised the need for an information area similar to that at Basildon Hospital.

Jacqueline Totterdell, hospital chief executive said: “The centre will truly complement the service we currently provide to patients with cancer.

“Feedback from our patients has shown that having an area which formally provides information and support for people affected by cancer and their families will be tremendously beneficial in helping them deal with what can be a distressing and emotional time.”