A CANCER charity has said that health boards need to do more to help patients with welfare benefits advice.

Analysis by Macmillan Cancer Support Wales shows that more than half of cancer patients in Wales are not offered enough information on welfare benefits advice.

Figures for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board are slightly lower, with 43 percent of patients left unsure about financial aid.

Previous research by Macmillan highlighted that cancer patients are hit with an average cost of £640 per month as a result of their illness. This is due to a loss of income and having to cope with additional costs such as travel to hospital and increased fuel bills as a result of spending more time at home and feeling the cold more following treatment.

Susan Morris, General Manager for Macmillan Cancer Support in Wales, said: ”We warmly welcomed the commitment in the Cancer Delivery Plan to routinely refer cancer patients to welfare benefits advice if they need it, but we are extremely concerned that two years on this isn’t happening for everyone who needs it.

“The cost of cancer is a huge problem in Wales and can have a devastating effect on a person’s recovery. Cancer patients should be concentrating on getting through their treatment, rather than worrying about paying the bills.

“Health Boards must do more to ensure people living with cancer are signposted to good quality specialist and timely welfare benefits support to help them cope and manage the financial impact of their diagnosis.”