WE'RE BEING MISTREETED; EXCLUSIVE A Shock Report into NHS Cancer Treatment Shows Your Postcode Means the Difference between Life and Death

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Byline: LACHLAN MACKINNON

A SHAMEFUL postcode lottery dramatically affects your chances of surviving cancer, as the south soaks up all the best treatment.

Patients in parts of England are given lifesaving radiotherapy while in other areas a medic admitted "they are often sent to hospices to die".

The Daily Mirror has seen a Government report based on data from England's 28 cancer networks - which co-ordinate treatment across NHS areas - showing massive variation in care offered across the country.

The best radiotherapy is all in London or within an easy commute of it.

While not all cancer patients can be successfully treated with radiotherapy, it is estimated around half do benefit.

The Radiotherapy Dataset Annual Report, by the Department of Health, suggests just 27% of eligible patients in the North of England Cancer Network area - which stretches from Workington in the west across to Hartlepool and north to Berwickupon-Tweed - get radiotherapy.

In contrast, 94% of suitable cancer patients in the North West London Cancer Network - which covers areas such as Westminster, Hounslow, Hillingdon and Harrow - receive the treatment.

The cancer death rate in Middlesbrough - an area included in the North of England Cancer Network - is a frightening 228 per 100,000 population.

But in wealthy Kensington and Chelsea - part of the North West London Cancer Network - the rate is 120 per 100,000 population.

Grahame Morris, MP for Easington, Co Durham, blamed a lack of local investment in new technology.

He said: "This postcode lottery for cancer treatment is risking the lives of cancer patients in the north.

"The Government need to address the issues prohibiting equal access to cancer treatment across England and halt their transfer of resources from the north to the south."

His call comes as a recent document by Public Health Manchester showed the north is set to lose pounds 100million in funding to tackle health inequalities, while leafy Surrey will gain pounds 61.4million, Hampshire pounds 52million and Hertfordshire pounds 39.7million.

Health select committee member Mr Morris added: "The Government needs to invest in radiotherapy equipment in the north instead of cutting funding while health inequalities are so prevalent in the region.

"Some cancer patients in the north are denied access to life-saving treatment whereas in the affluent south they have access to radiotherapy.

"We need a clinical pathway similar to that for heart attacks. Anyone who suffers an attack here is taken to one of two centres where they are given the appropriate treatment and the survival rate is fantastic. …