In spite of the prevalence of neoplastic disorders as a cause of chronic illness, very few of the currently available generic measures of health-related quality of life or health status have been utilized with cancer patients. In this paper we reviewed our studies with the Cancer Rehabilitation Evaluation System (CARES), a cancer-specific measure of rehabilitation needs and quality of life. We present data to demonstrate that the CARES is a generic measure of health-related quality of life, suitable for use in the many different diseases called cancer. The data that form the basis for this paper were collected during a decade of research on the CARES. This paper represents the first discussion of the performance of the CARES across separate cancer sites and phases of the disease. In addition, we demonstrated that the CARES is responsive to changes in health-related quality of life over time. Finally, we will discuss the application of the CARES in clinical and research settings.