In a cross-sectional study design, a disease free sample of 57 lung, 117 colon, and 104 prostate cancer survivors who represented short, intermediate and long-term survivors completed a detailed assessment of quality of life (QOL) and rehabilitation needs using the CAncer Rehabilitation Evaluation System (CARES). Demographic and medical data, social support, and a global QOL rating were also assessed. Lung cancer patients showed no differences in QOL with respect to their period of survival. QOL improved for survivors of colon cancer as they lived for longer periods, but declined with time for survivors of prostate cancer. The best predictor of QOL for all groups was KPS, although other variables such as type of hospital, gender, and work status were predictive for survivors of colon cancer. For survivors of prostate cancer comorbidity with other medical illnesses, time since diagnosis and comorbidity due to psychiatric difficulties were predictive of QOL. All groups had significant rehabilitation problems in the domains of physical, psychosocial, sexual, medical interaction, and marital relationships. Lung cancer survivors had more problems than the other cancer survivors. We conclude that patients who survive cancer do not return to a state of normal health. They demonstrate a variety of difficulties with which they must cope as they continue to survive. Greater efforts need to be made early in diagnosis and treatment to understand rehabilitation problems and target interventions in the hope of reducing later sequelae.