The aim of this review was to systemically explore the current evidence regarding patient-related barriers to cancer pain management to find new areas that might be important for better understanding of patient barriers' phenomenon. The method used in this study was a computerised literature search, carried out in Cochrane Library, Medline (through PubMed), Web of Science and EMBASE databases for the period 1994-2005. Thirty-seven studies, dealing with cognitive, sensory and affective patient-related barriers, as well as studies, describing patients' pain communication and their adherence to analgesic regimen were included and analysed. The dominant part of articles studied cognitive patient-related barriers to cancer pain management, while affective, sensory barriers, as well as pain communication and pain medication adherence were studied in much less extend. However, the findings from different studies regarding relationships between cognitive barriers and pain intensity were not consistent. On the contrary, the quality of pain communication was consistently found to be not satisfactory in some key areas. The associations between more expressed attitudinal as well as sensory barriers and less optimal adherence were also consistent. In conclusions suggestion for the new research areas on patient-related barriers to cancer pain management are made. Firstly, further research is needed to differentiate the role of cognitive, affective and sensory factors with respect to their impact on pain relief, pain communication and medication adherence. Besides that, validated instruments to assess patients' pain communication and adherence to analgesic regimen are lacking.