By Dr. Brian McDonoughSponsored By Independence Blue Cross

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There is no doubt that Medicare provides tremendous benefits to the elderly.

The goal is to try to relieve many of the financial burdens at a time of life when illness and chronic medical conditions can increase the need for care; care that can be quite expensive.

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For elderly patients with cancer, this time of life can be particularly difficult.

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According to an article in the journal Cancer, despite the help from Medicare, financial hardship can have a significantly negative impact on older patients.

According to the article, it is very important that patients with cancer and other chronic conditions who are elderly and have social services provided, have them provided at a very early time of care.

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Many have limited income, lack of social support, and other factors that can have long-term impact on a person’s overall health and mortality.