A NEW state-of-the-art cancer centre funded by £3.25million of charitable donations welcomed its first patients.

Roger Sharman, 75, was one of the first to use the Collingwood Centre at Colchester Hospital.

It replaces the hospital’s Mary Barron Suite and Haematology Day Unit, bringing several strands of cancer care together under one roof.

Mr Sharman was one of the first patients through its doors on Monday.

He receives chemotherapy and immunotherapy alternately every two weeks.

He was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in March 2016 after a tumour caused a bone in his arm to break while he walked his dog.

He said: “I sit here one day a month for chemotherapy and in between that every two weeks I have immunotherapy.

“It is a small price to pay for keeping healthy.

“My cancer is treatable. I will have to have chemotherapy until it takes over and I am buying time, but I was put into remission very quickly.”

The Collingwood Centre is on the first floor of the main hospital block and sits above the radiotherapy department.

Mr Sharman said: “This will be different from the point of view of it being nice to get into an area where you can talk to the other patients you see on a regular basis.

“In this large, spacious room we may do that.

“I’ve been seeing the same nurses and faces for the last three and a half years, you get to know them and the other patients – that means a lot to me.”

Mr Sharman says cancer patients differ in their outlook.

He said: “There was a time many years ago when my wife had a cancer scare and she accepted it immediately. But I was struggling.

“And now it is utterly reversed. You think in terms of you will be the one who will be left behind.”

Work is also nearing completion on a new Cancer Wellbeing Centre at Colchester Hospital.