Background. This study examined the outcomes of providing a copy of the PDQ Patient Information File (PIF) to cancer patients. Methods. Patients with cervical, endometrial, and ovarian cancers were randomized to two groups: 1) verbal communication only and 2) verbal communication plus PIF. Cancer knowledge and satisfaction with the PIF and the information received were assessed with telephone interviews. Clinical trial registries were reviewed to determine enrollment in clinical trials. Results. The overall reaction to the PIF was good or excellent for 92% of the patients surveyed, but there was no significant difference between the two groups in their cancer knowledge, enrollment in clinical trials, or satisfaction with the information they received from their physicians. The majority of patients from both groups lacked basic knowledge about their disease, did not use any source of information other than their physicians and/or nurses, and were satisfied with the information they received. Conclusions. Patients appreciate receiving written cancer information, although it may not increase their cancer knowledge.