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A systematic review of barriers and enablers to South Asian womens attendance for asymptomatic screening of breast and cervical cancers in emigrant countries

07 Jul 2018

Objectives

The aim of this review was to identify the cultural, social, structural and behavioural factors that influence asymptomatic breast and cervical cancer screening attendance in South Asian populations, in order to improve uptake and propose priorities for further research.

Design

A systematic review of the literature for inductive, comparative, prospective and intervention studies. We searched the following databases: MEDLINE/In-Process, Web of Science, EMBASE, SCOPUS, CENTRAL, CDSR, CINAHL, PsycINFO and PsycARTICLES from database inception to 23 January 2018. The review included studies on the cultural, social, structural and behavioural factors that influence asymptomatic breast and cervical cancer screening attendance and cervical smear testing (Papanicolaou test) in South Asian populations and those published in the English language. The framework analysis method was used and themes were drawn out following the thematic analysis method.

Settings

Asymptomatic breast or cervical screening.

Participants

South Asian women, including Bangladeshi, Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Bhutanese, Maldivian and Nepali populations.

Results

51 included studies were published between 1991 and 2018. Sample sizes ranged from 25 to 38 733 and participants had a mean age of 18 to 83 years. Our review showed that South Asian women generally had lower screening rates than host country women. South Asian women had poorer knowledge of cancer and cancer prevention and experienced more barriers to screening. Cultural practices and assumptions influenced understandings of cancer and prevention, emphasising the importance of host country cultures and healthcare systems.

Conclusions

High-quality research on screening attendance is required using prospective designs, where objectively validated attendance is predicted from cultural understandings, beliefs, norms and practices, thus informing policy on targeting relevant public health messages to the South Asian communities about screening for cancer.

PROSPERO registration number

CSD 42015025284.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open