A systematic review of community-based colorectal cancer screening randomized controlled trials with multi-ethnic groups

Jay Brooks Morrow, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Background. The CDC estimates that 40% of adults 50 years of age or older do not receive time-appropriate colorectal cancer screening. Sixty percent of colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented by regular screening of adults 50 years of age and older. Yet, in 2000 only 42.5% of adults age 50 or older in the U.S. had received recommended screening. Disparities by health care, nativity status, socioeconomic status, and race/ethnicity are evident. Disparities in minority, underserved populations prevent us from attaining Goal 2 of Healthy People 2010 to “eliminate health disparities.” This review focuses on community-based screening research among underserved populations that includes multiple ethnic groups for appropriate disparities analysis. There is a gap in the colorectal cancer screening literature describing the effectiveness of community-based randomized controlled trials. Objective. To critically review the literature describing community-based colorectal cancer screening strategies that are randomized controlled trials, and that include multiple racial/ethnic groups. Methods. The review includes a preliminary disparities analysis to assess whether interventions were appropriately targeted in communities to those groups experiencing the greatest health disparities. Review articles are from an original search using Ovid Medline and a cross-matching search in Pubmed, both from January 2001 to June 2009. The Ovid Medline literature review is divided into eight exclusionary stages, seven electronic, and the last stage consisting of final manual review. Results. The final studies (n=15) are categorized into four categories: Patient mailings (n=3), Telephone outreach (n=3), Electronic/multimedia (n=4), and Counseling/community education (n=5). Of 15 studies, 11 (73%) demonstrated that screening rates increased for the intervention group compared to controls, including all studies (100%) from the Patient mailings and Telephone outreach groups, 4 of 5 (80%) Counseling/community education studies, and 1 of 4 (25%) Electronic/multimedia interventions. Conclusions. Patient choice and tailoring education and/or messages to individuals have proven to be two important factors in improving colorectal cancer screening adherence rates. Technological strategies have not been overly successful with underserved populations in community-based trials. Based on limited findings to date, future community-based colorectal cancer screening trials should include diverse populations who are experiencing incidence, survival, mortality and screening disparities.

Subject Area

Medicine|Public health

Recommended Citation

Morrow, Jay Brooks, "A systematic review of community-based colorectal cancer screening randomized controlled trials with multi-ethnic groups" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1467440.