Closing the Disparity Gap: Cancer Screening Interventions Among Asians – a Systematic Literature Review


Background: Cancer is a leading cause of deaths among Asian Americans. However, the rates of screening among Asian Americans are low. The use of effective culturally-appropriate interventions needs to be explored.
Methods: Electronic databases were searched for articles published between January 1995 and December 2010 for a comprehensive literature review. Interventions to increase breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening among Asians populations in the US and overseas were included.
Results: A total of thirty studies were reviewed. These studies differed on study design, target population, theoretical underpinning of intervention approach and outcome measures. Effective interventions employed a variety of strategies including the use of social networks, lay health workers, media education, community-based education, reminder notices, health care provider assistance and health system changes. Fifteen studies utilized behavioral theories in intervention development.
Conclusions: This review finds culturally-appropriate community-based interventions and lay health worker strategies can improve cancer screening behaviors among Asian populations. Selections of intervention strategies will depend on the characteristics of the target group and feasibility of implementation. Challenges and recommendations for tailored screening interventions for Asians are discussed.