Clinical depression among cancer patients may be significantly reduced by following a new program outlined by Cancer Research.
Nearly 10 pct of the people who have cancer suffer from clinical depression and helplessness.
In the study led by University of Edinburgh scientists, and involving 200 cancer patients, half of the patients received the new treatment while the other half received standard care, either from a GP or hospital specialist.
After three months, the researchers found that 20pct fewer patients were depressed compared with those who received standard NHS treatment.
Moreover, the patients receiving the new treatment reported improvements in anxiety and fatigue
The new treatment included one-to-one sessions with trained cancer nurses to help patients manage their depression.
Professor Michael Sharpe believes the therapy could help patients with a range of illnesses.
"Ten per cent of cancer patients experience clinical depression and unfortunately it is not always adequately treated," BBC quoted him as saying.
"This new treatment could substantially improve the way we manage depression in people with cancer and also in people with other serious medical conditions.
"This is the first time this type of depression treatment has been evaluated in cancer patients and the results are very encouraging," he added.
The study was reported in journal Lancet.