A BARROW dad who believes his terminal cancer was caused during his career at Sellafield wants to help youngsters with the illness.

David Nelson, 64, was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia seven years ago.

He was told at the time that he only had five years to live but he continues to battle on in a bid to spend as much time as possible with his five children, 13 grandchildren and his great-grandson.

"The chemotherapy tablets I'm on have allowed me to live for seven years but I'm pragmatic about my prognosis," the former shipyard welder said.

"My family has been so supportive and we've had to have some really open conversations about my future."

Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) is caused by a genetic mutation in the stem cells produced by the bone marrow.

The mutation leads to the over-production of abnormal white blood cells.

"I worked at Sellafield and I believe my leukaemia was caused by my time there," Mr Nelson, of Risedale Road, said.

He is now growing his hair to allow him to donate it to youngsters suffering from cancer and to raise money for the oncology unit at FGH.

Supporters can donate to his fundraiser at www.gofundme.com/f/shave-away-for-oncology

"The staff at the unit are absolutely wonderful," he added.

NHS experts state that exposure to radiation is the only known risk factor in developing CML.

When an ITV documentary in 1983 revealed a high number of childhood leukaemia cases between 1955 and 1983 in Seascale it caused a public outcry about the risk posed to the communities near the nuclear reprocessing facility.

The documentary, which found seven cases of leukaemia when less than one would have been expected, prompted a series of investigations.

In 2016 a report by the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment – a group of independent experts advising the government about issues relating to radiation and health – confirmed that the cancer cluster is no longer present and supports earlier suggestions that radiation wasn’t to blame.

While the study debunked fears that the cluster of childhood cases of leukaemia were linked to their fathers' work at Sellafield there is a proven link between the rates of leukaemia in adults and their employment at the site.

Sellafield is part of the Compensation Scheme for Radiation Linked Diseases which offers an alternative to legal action for past and present employees of participating employers who have been exposed to radiation at Sellafield and who are subsequently diagnosed to be suffering from cancer.

Of 1660 cases considered since the scheme began in 1982 162 have resulted in successful claims.

A Sellafield spokesman said: “We do not comment on personal health details of current or former workers.”