While there are numerous uncertainties surrounding prostate cancer's detection and treatment, more research focusing on the psychological needs of prostate patients is required. This study investigated the support and psychological care needs of men with prostate cancer. Patients were approached during urological oncology clinics and asked to complete the: Support Care Needs Survey (SCNS), Support Care Preferences Questionnaire, EORTC QLQ-C30 (Version 3) Measure plus Prostate Module, and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Of the 249 patients meeting study entry criteria, there was an 89% response rate resulting in a cohort of 210 patients. The data showed that significant unmet need exists across a number of domains in the areas of psychological and health system/information. The more commonly reported needs were ‘fears about cancer spreading (44%),’ ‘concerns about the worries of those close to you (43%),’ and ‘changes in sexual feelings (41%).’ Half of all patients reported some need in the domain of sexuality, especially men younger than 65 years. Needs were being well met in the domain of patient care and support. A significant number of patients reported having used or desiring support services, such as information about their illness, brochures about services and benefits for patients with cancer (55%), a series of talks by staff members about aspects of prostate cancer (44%), and one-on-one counselling (48%). Quality of life (QoL) was most negatively impacted in those who: were ⩽65 years old, had been diagnosed within one year, or had metastatic disease. Men ⩽65 had decreased social functioning, greater pain, increased sleep disturbance, and were more likely to be uncomfortable about being sexually intimate. Patients recently diagnosed had increased fatigue, more frequent urination, greater disturbance of sleep, and were more likely to have hot flushes. Those with advanced disease scored lower on 12 out of 15 QoL categories. PSA level had no effect on QoL or anxiety/depression scores. Men with advanced disease had greater levels of depression and those ⩽65 years old were more likely to be anxious. Although most men with prostate cancer seem to function quite well, a substantial minority report areas of unmet need that may be targets for improving care. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.