, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 372-378
Date: 04 Oct 2012

Ethnic disparities in colonoscopy use among colorectal cancer survivors: a systematic review

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Abstract

Purpose

After curative treatment for colorectal cancer (CRC), routine colonoscopies are recommended. We aimed to identify all studies of ethnic disparities in CRC surveillance and examine any association between race/ethnicity and colonoscopy use.

Methods

We conducted a systematic literature review to address the association between race/ethnicity and colonoscopy use among CRC survivors. We searched Medline for relevant articles. Two authors reviewed titles, abstracts, and articles based on pre-determined inclusion/exclusion criteria.

Results

Of the 1,544 titles reviewed, eight studies published since 2001 investigated racial/ethnic disparities in colonoscopy use. Four articles showed a small significant ethnic disparity in the receipt of timely colonoscopy, and the remaining four articles showed a nonsignificant trend in the same direction. The effect did not vary by time of diagnosis or proportion of minorities in each study, though studies with larger samples showed somewhat greater racial/ethnic disparities in colonoscopy use.

Conclusions

We found at least a small disparity in the use of colonoscopy among CRC survivors, suggesting that ethnic disparities continue beyond prevention, detection, and treatment of CRC. It is important to identify areas of unequal care in CRC survivorship and to promote timely surveillance among CRC survivors who belong to racial/ethnic minorities to decrease disparities in mortality.

Implications for Cancer Survivors

CRC survivors who belong to racial/ethnic minorities may be less likely to receive follow-up colonoscopies on time, which could contribue to higher rates of death from CRC among minorities.