Linear analogue self-assessment (LASA) scales were used to measure general well-being and specific factors (mood, pain, nausea and vomiting, appetite, breathlessness, physical activity) in patients receiving therapy for malignant melanoma, small cell bronchogenic carcinoma (SCBC) or ovarian cancer. Among the patients with SCBC and melanoma, high correlations were observed between LASA scores for general well-being, mood and appetite. There was a significant relationship between performance status and LASA scores for general well-being, pain and appetite. Among patients with ovarian cancer, there was a significant association between performance status and LASA scores for general well-being, breathlessness and physical activity. Objective response category was related to change in LASA scores for pain. Changes in LASA scores during treatment reflected increased morbidity during radiotherapy in patients also receiving chemotherapy for SCBC. The LASA technique provides a convenient method for the assessment of quality of life in patients receiving cancer therapy, and potentially allows comparison of patient perception of treatment-related morbidities.