The attitude of ambulatory cancer patients at the Division of Oncology, Dept. of Internal Medicine, of the Basel University Hospital towards official medicine, its therapeutic modalities as well as doctors and nurses was analysed. 33% of the patients answered an anonymous questionnaire containing 55 questions, which was distributed at their first visit during 1987. Four fifths showed a positive attitude towards official medicine overall. Two thirds of the patients believed to have profited from surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy alike. Side effects of chemotherapy were classed as barely tolerable by one third, as tolerable by two thirds of the patients. Nearly 80% would accept another surgical, radiotherapeutical or cytostatic treatment. 44% of all patients used therapies of unknown efficacy, and these patients suffered more from side effects than non-users, but no differences existed in regard to other parameters. The medical oncologist was felt to be the closest person caring for the patient, followed by the partner, the family practitioner, the oncology nurse and the community nurse. Most important for the patients are firm technical skills--significantly more than emotional support. 97% of the patients asked for thorough information on all aspects of their disease, good or bad.