Two hundred fifteen randomly accessed cancer patients who were new admissions to three collaborating cancer centers were examined for the presence of formal psychiatric disorder. Each patient was assessed in a common protocol via a psychiatric interview and standardized psychological tests. The American Psychiatric Association's DSM-III diagnostic system was used in making the diagnoses. Results indicated that 47% of the patients received a DSM-III diagnosis, with 44% being diagnosed as manifesting a clinical syndrome and 3% with personality disorders. Approximately 68% of the psychiatric diagnoses consisted of adjustment disorders, with 13% representing major affective disorders (depression). The remaining diagnoses were split among organic mental disorders (8%), personality disorders (7%), and anxiety disorders (4%). Approximately 85% of those patients with a positive psychiatric condition were experiencing a disorder with depression or anxiety as the central symptom. The large majority of conditions were judged to represent highly treatable disorders.