As part of a larger study on the quality of life of cancer patients under treatment, the positive and negative experiences in social interaction have been examined as compared to those of a control group (nonpatients, n = 201). Two patient groups were included: 109 patients who had recently undergone surgery and 108 patients receiving chemotherapy. The respondents returned a mailed questionnaire. Contrary to the assumptions based on a review from the literature, cancer patients appear to have more positive and fewer negative social experiences than a random sample from the 'normal' population. Even under more severe medical circumstances (a poor prognosis or heavy chemotherapy, a large number of chemotherapy cycles, poor progress after surgery) the poorer the patients, medically speaking, the more help and support they perceive. The results of this study do not support the idea of stigmatization. The personality characteristics, neuroticism and self-esteem are especially important for the having of positive and negative experiences in social interaction. Positive social experiences show a relationship with self-esteem and negative social experiences show a relationship with neuroticism.