As part of a multi-centred UK study evaluating multidisciplinary team communication, the information needs, decision making preferences and information experiences of 394 cancer patients were audited. A majority of patients (342/394, 87%) wanted all possible information, both good and bad news. Assuming that all clinicians had equal skill, the majority of patients (350/394, 89%) expressed no preference for the sex of their doctor. The largest proportion of patients (153/394, 39%) wanted to share responsibility for decision making, preference was significantly influenced by age (chi2=17.42, df=4 P=0.002) with older patients more likely to prefer the doctor to make the decisions. A majority of patients reported receiving information regarding their initial tests (313/314, 100%), diagnosis (382/382, 100%), surgery (374/375, 100%) and prognosis (308/355, 87%), fewer recalled discussions concerning clinical trials (119/280, 43%), family history (90/320, 28%) or psychosocial issues, notably sexual well-being (116/314, 37%). Cancer patients want to be fully informed and share decision making responsibility, but do not report receiving sufficient information in all areas. Multidisciplinary cancer teams need to ensure that where appropriate, someone provides patients with information about clinical trials, familial risk and psychosocial issues. Regular audits highlight gaps and omissions in the information given to patients.