This study examined occupational stress amongst medical staff on cancer wards. The sample consisted of 91 nurses and 57 physicians from 13 institutions in Bavaria, F.R.G. Strong associations emerged between specific, situational stressors and reported psychosomatic complaints. In particular, interpersonal difficulties, whether on or off the job, related to physical distress amongst nurses. For doctors, dissatifaction with the job and working conditions related to general malaise. Certain characteristics of the carer (sex, profession, age) and of the institutional environment (e.g. presence of trainees, size of institution) were also linked with stress and complaint levels.