Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers and most common cause of cancer deaths worldwide. Despite the availability of screening, disparities in survival from colorectal continue in certain ethnic minority groups. This may, in part, be secondary to low take-up of bowel cancer screening. Different ethnic groups may have different cultural and health beliefs, different levels of education, understanding and acculturation that negatively impacts upon their use of faecal testing and endoscopic procedures.
In a systematic review published in the journal Perspectives in Public Health, we examined studies that had investigated ethnic differences in the uptake of colorectal cancer screening.
We found that disparities in colorectal cancer screening are multifactorial and complex in their origin and that ethnicity plays an important role. Although seemingly intuitive, this is the first systematic review that summarises the association between uptake of screening in specific ethnic groups and which highlights the presence of significant variations in ethnicity classification globally.
Further consistent international research is required to understand why specific ethnic groups are less likely to take up colorectal cancer screening to help in the development of more tailored public health messaging to improve screening rates and to reduce disparities in health outcomes.