BACKGROUND: For cancer patients, pain is the most common symptom and the most important factor that seriously affects their treatment and quality of life. The purpose of the research was to determine the controllable factors for pain management in order to increase patients' satisfaction for pain management. METHOD: This study was based on the survey answers and medical records of 464 cancer patients, in 8 hospitals in Korea from March until September 2000. RESULTS: As shown by Chi-square test, according to the degree of satisfaction for cancer pain management, those patients who were "satisfied" with pain treatment showed better activity rate (P=0.007) than the "unsatisfied" group. Additionally, the frequency of using painkillers according to WHO step-ladder, Pain Management Index (PMI), or patients own knowledge and attitude toward cancer pain control was not found to be relevant to patients satisfaction (P=0.106, P=0.382, P>0.05). But, in the "satisfaction" group, more patients were informed of the importance of pain management (P=0.004) and reported less pain (P<0.05). A close relationship between higher satisfaction and lower pain interference rate was discovered, but no correlation was found for activity, mood, or gate. The average of interference rate was lower in the "satisfaction" group (P<0.05). CONCLUSION: For higher satisfaction rate for pain management among cancer patients, high activity rate, patient education of importance of pain management, less severity of pain, and low interference rate in life are found to be the determinants.