A three-part study evaluated French cancer patients' acceptance of self-rated quality of life measures, the predictive value of these measures, and the agreement between patient and health provider ratings of patient quality of life. In part one, 93% of 137 patients indicated a willingness to complete the Qualite de la Vie-Questionnaire (QOL-Q) and Analogues Lineaires pour la Mesure de la Qualite de vie (LA), and 63.6% indicated a willingness to be interviewed by a psychologist. Willingness to complete the scales was related to hospitalization status and treatment modality. In parts two and three, 100 patients were asked to complete the QOL-Q, LA, the Karnofsky Index (KI) and a side-effects checklist, and to undergo a psychological interview. Following interview, a psychologist rated the patients using the QOL-Q, and classified patient level of emotional distress. Oncologists rated the patient using the KI and the side-effects checklist. The results indicate that the patients' ratings of their quality of life were higher than the psychologist's ratings, and that the QOL-Q has predictive value in identifying severe emotional distress. Low level of patient and physician agreement on the KI was partially explained by patient age and cancer site. A moderate level of agreement was found between patient and physician perceptions of side effects. The study suggests that the QOL-Q, not the LA, may be useful as a screening tool to identify patients with impaired quality of life, and that self-rated measures should be included in quality of life assessments.