For years, health professionals have been aware of patients’ wish to be kept informed and the benefits this entails. The legislation of informed consent is however an external regulation. The present study explores the development of informed consent as seen from the perspectives of Danish cancer patients during the period 1970-1998. The theoretical framework was based on Anthony Giddens’ analysis of modernity. From this perspective, three patients’ narratives were text-analyzed in combination with historical-source-analysis. The study showed how both the desire for information demanded by the patients as well as way of supplying information by the health professionals changed in the period 1970-1998. The changes were however asymmetrical as the health professionals did not live up to the expectations of the patients despite the fact that they changed their practices in tune with the changes in legal legislation. If healthcare providers rely on legislation regulating informed consent, they may displace the problem, expecting the law – and not the health professionals – to meet the patient’s requirements.