This paper sets out to reflect on ethical issues in the context of a study exploring cancer patients', relatives' and nurses' experience of a day hospital chemotherapy service. Interviewing can be considered as a well-used approach within qualitative methodology, yet little attention has been paid to a many of the ethical deliberations that are inherent when adopting this approach, particularly in the context of cancer. It is the intention of the authors that this paper might raise awareness of these issues, contribute to the ongoing debate about conducting research interviews on sensitive topics and provide a `real-world' application of these principles. It is considered that the article potentially raises more questions that answers and illustrates that there are not always quick-fix solutions for the `real-world' problems qualitative researchers' experience. (C) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.