Objectives: To systematically review the literature to determine which interventions improve the screening, diagnosis or treatment of cervical cancer for racial and/or ethnic minorities.
Data sources: Medline on OVID, Cochrane Register of Controlled Trials, CINAHL, PsycINFO and Cochrane Systematic Reviews.
Study eligibility criteria, participants and interventions: We searched the above databases for original articles published in English with at least one intervention designed to improve cervical cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis or treatment that linked participants to the healthcare system; that focused on US racial and/or ethnic minority populations; and that measured health outcomes. Articles were reviewed to determine the population, intervention(s), and outcomes. Articles published through August 2010 were included.
Study appraisal and synthesis methods: One author rated the methodological quality of each of the included articles. The strength of evidence was assessed using the criteria developed by the GRADE Working Group.
Results: Thirty-one studies were included. The strength of evidence is moderate that telephone support with navigation increases the rate of screening for cervical cancer in Spanish- and English-speaking populations; low that education delivered by lay health educators with navigation increases the rate of screening for cervical cancer for Latinas, Chinese Americans and Vietnamese Americans; low that a single visit for screening for cervical cancer and follow up of an abnormal result improves the diagnosis and treatment of premalignant disease of the cervix for Latinas; and low that telephone counseling increases the diagnosis and treatment of premalignant lesions of the cervix for African Americans.
Limitations: Studies that did not focus on racial and/or ethnic minority populations may have been excluded. In addition, this review excluded interventions that did not link racial and ethnic minorities to the health care system. While inclusion of these studies may have altered our findings, they were outside the scope of our review.
Conclusions and implications of key findings: Patient navigation with telephone support or education may be effective at improving screening, diagnosis, and treatment among racial and ethnic minorities. Research is needed to determine the applicability of the findings beyond the populations studied.