Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 55–61 | Cite as

Social disparities across the continuum of colorectal cancer: a systematic review

  • Richard C. PalmerEmail author
  • Eric C. Schneider


Objective:The purpose of this review is to evaluate the published literature to assess social inequalities in colorectal cancer using the ‘cancer disparities grid.’ Methods: Three computerized databases were searched from January 1990 to January 2004 to identify published English language articles that collected data from study participants living in the United States. Abstracts were reviewed and articles that dealt with social inequality and colorectal cancer were selected. A total of 46 articles were identified and classified into the appropriate cell of the cancer disparities grid. Results: The majority of research identified for the grid has focused primarily in one domain of inequality, race/ethnicity and racism, and within one column of the cancer continuum, cancer screening. About one-third of the articles focused on multiple aspects of social inequalities. There were few or no published research articles within many of the domains of social inequality along the continuum of colorectal cancer prevention, treatment, and outcomes. Conclusions: This review found only a modest amount of research has been conducted that has examined the influence of social inequalities on colorectal cancer. Findings suggest that a multidisciplinary approach is needed to measure and remedy these social inequalities.


cancer disparities colon cancer health disparities review article 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SocietyHuman Development, and HealthBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health Policy and ManagementHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  3. 3.DFCI-CCBRBostonUSA

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