Prev Med. 2020 Aug 31:106242. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2020.106242. Online ahead of print.
Certain minorities in the US are disproportionately burdened with higher cancer incidence and mortality rates. Programs encouraging timely uptake of cancer screening measures serve to reduce cancer health disparities. A systematic literature review was conducted to assess the effectiveness and the qualities of these programs, and to elucidate characteristics of success programs to aid in designing of future ones. We focused on community-based programs rather than clinic-based programs as the former are more likely to reach disadvantaged populations, and on prevention programs for breast, cervical, and/or colon cancers as longstanding screening recommendations for these cancers exist. PubMed, CINAHL and EBSCO databases were searched for articles that utilized community organizations and community health workers. Fourteen programs described in 34 manuscripts were identified. While 10 of 14 programs reported statistically significant increases in cancer prevention knowledge and/or increase in screening rates, only 7 of them enrolled large number of participants (defined as ≥1000). Only 7 programs had control groups, only 4 programs independently verified screening uptake, and 2 programs had long-term follow-up (defined as more than one screening cycle). Only one program demonstrated elimination of cancer health disparity at a population level. While most community-based cancer prevention programs have demonstrated efficacy in terms of increased knowledge and/or screening uptake, scalability and demonstration in reduction at a population level remain a challenge.