This study tested the hypothesis that cancer patients from lower socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds have poorer adjustment to cancer. In a longitudinal study of 352 patients with breast, prostate or colorectal cancer, SES was indexed as a composite of educational level, car and home ownership. Patients were classified as higher (3 markers: car, home and higher education) or lower (up to 2 markers) SES. Patients completed measures of depression, anxiety, quality-of-life, social difficulties and benefit-finding at 2 months (Time 1) and 10 months (Time 2) after diagnosis. Data on disease stage, treatment and co-morbid illness were also collected. At Time 1, lower SES patients were more anxious and depressed and had worse quality-of-life and more social difficulties. Psychological wellbeing improved on all measures by follow-up, and although not significant, the trend was towards diminishing, rather than increasing, differences in wellbeing between higher and lower SES groups. Acute psychosocial reactions to a cancer diagnosis appeared to be greater amongst patients with fewer educational and material resources, but longer-term adjustment did not appear to be any worse in lower SES patients.