This project was designed to evaluate the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy General Scale (FACT-G) for use in the older patient with cancer. Subjects were administered the MOS Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) and the FACT-G scale. Subscale and total scores were compared using the Pearson product correlation test. FACT-G total and subscores were compared with the mixed aged cancer patient normative group of Cella et al. (1993). Good correlations were found between total and subscores of the SF-36 and the FACT-G in all areas except vitality. The mean total FACT-G score was 82.2 +/- 16.2 SD for the patients with cancer, and 92.3 +/- 11.8 SD for community-dwelling elderly (CDE). The FACT-G was able to discriminate between patients that received cancer care and CDE (p < 0.002). Subjects who scored higher on the FACT-G were found to have higher Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Performance Status (PS). Subjects with a PS of 0 had a mean total FACT-G score of 87.9 +/- 14.4 SD. Subjects with a PS of 3 had a mean score of 59.0 +/- 23.2 SD. The FACT-G is a valid and reliable instrument for use in the older patient with cancer. The FACT-G is not an age-biased instrument.