Counselling a key part of treatment for the newly diagnosed One in five cancer patients suffers from depression, according to a survey by the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The study was conducted between April and last month by the university's Department of Clinical Oncology. A total of 298 patients from various cancer wards were invited to take part in two surveys to appraise their mental state. The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale contained 14 questions and there were 30 questions in the European Organisation of Research and Treatment for Cancer Patients' Quality of Life survey. Cancer patients most likely to suffer depression are those dependent on carers (58 per cent of respondents), those reliant on social security (38 per cent), those newly diagnosed with cancer (29 per cent) and family breadwinners (28 per cent), according to the survey. Professor Fok Tai-fai, dean of the university's medicine faculty, said addressing depression was a key part of patients' treatment. 'Certain patients experience depressive symptoms that are serious enough to affect their mind, mood, body and behaviour. We have to realise the importance of providing treatment for depression to enhance the patients' survival and quality of life,' Professor Fok said. Manulife Charitable Foundation yesterday presented a $720,000 donation to the Cancer Patient Resource Centre at the Prince of Wales Hospital to help it offer counselling to new cancer patients over the next two years. Centre chairman Tony Mok Shue-kam said the money was needed as the Hospital Authority did not fund such services. The donation would be used to hire a new clinical psychologist, he said. Lung cancer patient and mother of three, Law Chan Suk-luen, 57, said counselling had helped her overcome her fears of chemotherapy and what the future may hold after she was diagnosed with depression. 'The counsellor asked me things about my childhood and my past. Now I seem to suffer less fear as I continue to take drugs they prescribe for me,'' she said.