Food intake and nutritional status were estimated in 34 cancer patients (14 patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and 20 patients with relapse of different cancers) and 25 healthy subjects (control group). A two-month dietary history based on Burke's method was used to estimate food intake. Nutritional status was expressed by weight, anthropometric parameters and hematologic parameters. The patients' intake of cheese, eggs, rye bread, and poultry was reduced compared to controls. The difference in food preferences resulted in a higher energy supply from carbohydrate and a lower intake of indigestible carbohydrate, vitamin B12, iron and iodine in patients than in controls. The groups did not differ in anthropometric parameters, but a decreased total serum protein, albumin and hemoglobin was observed in patients, whereas their alpha-globulin levels were increased. Thus, food preferences in cancer patients seem to be associated with insufficient intake of nutrients.