CANCER patients are missing out on emotional and social support because of a lack of medical social workers and cancer resource centres in Hong Kong, a senior lecturer in social work at Hong Kong University said. Cecilia Chan Lai-wan said only 5,000 of the 17,000 cancer patients diagnosed each year in the territory were receiving any psycho-social care because of the high beds-to-social-worker ratio in hospitals. At present, there is about one medical social worker to 90 hospital beds, compared with one to 50 beds in many other developed countries. Speaking after a Hong Kong Cancer Fund lunch yesterday, Ms Chan said: 'There is a vacuum of care on the emotional side and if the Social Welfare Department doesn't allow more social workers to specialise in medical social work the situation will remain the same.' A spokesman for the Social Welfare Department said it was increasing the number of medical social workers from more than 250 to over 280 in 1994-95, and by another 10 the following year. Ms Chan said the Hospital Authority must also expand and fund the territory's four cancer patient resource centres.