While the unmet supportive care needs are well documented for some groups of cancer patients, relatively little is known about the levels and types of needs of lung cancer patients. The study aims to compare the levels of lung cancer patients' psychosocial needs with those of other cancer patients. A total of 1492 consecutive patients in nine major public cancer treatment centres in New South Wales, Australia, were invited to participate in the Supportive Care Needs Study; 888 completed surveys were received. The mean number of unmet needs (out of a maximum of 59) reported by lung cancer patients was 15.6 (95% CI 12.1–19.1), compared to 10.9 (95% CI 10.0–11.8) in other cancer patients. The differences were mainly due to the fact that lung cancer patients reported a higher mean number of unmet psychological needs (7.6 versus 5.0) and physical and daily living unmet needs (2.8 versus 1.4), compared to the other cancer patients. Having a lung cancer diagnosis was an independent predictor of having a high level of psychological need (RR 2.00, 95%CI 1.13–3.56) and daily living need (RR 2.81, 95%CI 1.60–4.95), together with not being in remission, and receiving the cancer diagnosis more than two years previously. The results suggest that priority needs to be given to addressing the specific needs of this sub-group of cancer survivors. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.