CANCER patients in Barrow, Millom and the Lakes are less likely to survive because of the distance to receive radiotherapy treatment, a new report has revealed.

Any patients from South Cumbria currently have to travel to the Rosemere Cancer Centre in Preston to receive radiotherapy.

Some who are in need of more intensive treatment to fight aggressive forms of the disease have to make the journey daily for a number of weeks.

Politicians and patients have been arguing for years for a satellite radiotherapy unit - at either Furness General Hospital or Westmorland General Hospital.

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron is the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on radiotherapy provision.

The group commissioned a report, completed last week, which looked at the survival rates of patients based on the distance they have to travel for radiotherapy.

Shockingly, the report found that those living 45 minutes or more away from a radiotherapy centre are less likely to survive cancer.

Across England six per cent of cancer patients live 45 minutes or more away from a centre.

In Barrow, Millom and the Lakes the figure stands at 50 per cent of cancer patients.

"One in two of us will have cancer at some point in our lives and half of those will need radiotherapy," Mr Farron said.

"The people who live in Millom have to travel the furthest - you're talking at least two hours.

"There needs to be a satellite centre in Kendal or Barrow."

Barrow dad and cancer patient David Nelson knows too well the impact of lengthy journeys to receive treatment.

"I'm due to have radiotherapy and if my children aren't off work and can't take me I'll have to use hospital transport," he said.

"They definitely need something closer to here.

"Cancer patients are under immense pressure already and if you have to travel 100 miles, sometimes every day, to get treatment it's simply adding to our suffering.

"You are going through a horrendous experience already... people don’t realise what you are going through."

One Barrow grandma, who asked not to be named, relied on her family to transport her to the Rosemere Cancer Centre in Preston for radiotherapy.

"I just wouldn't have had it if the only option was hospital transport," she said.

A new cancer centre would cost in the region of £10m with operating costs estimated at £900,000 a year.

Mr Farron revealed some patients refuse radiotherapy because of the distance to Preston.

“An older lady called Liz diagnosed with skin cancer told me that she was choosing to decline the radiotherapy treatment that had been recommended by her oncologist,” he said.

“Why? Because of her age, she just could not cope with the journey. So Liz made the conscious choice to have a shorter life because the journey that she would have to take was too long."