Beyond the black box: a systematic review of breast, prostate, colorectal, and cervical screening among native and immigrant African-descent Caribbean populations

J Immigr Minor Health. 2015 Jun;17(3):905-24. doi: 10.1007/s10903-014-9991-0.


Cancer screening disparities between black and white groupings are well-documented. Less is known regarding African-descent subpopulations despite elevated risk, distinct cultural backgrounds, and increasing numbers of Caribbean migrants. A systematic search of Medline, Web of Science, PubMed and SCOPUS databases (1980-2012) identified 53 studies reporting rates of breast, prostate, cervical, and colorectal screening behavior among immigrant and non-immigrant Caribbean groups. Few studies were conducted within the Caribbean itself; most work is US-based, and the majority stem from Brooklyn, New York. In general, African-descent Caribbean populations screen for breast, prostate, colorectal, and cervical cancers less frequently than US-born African-Americans and at lower rates than recommendations and guidelines. Haitian immigrants, in particular, screen at very low frequencies. Both immigrant and non-immigrant African-descent Caribbean groups participate in screening less frequently than recommended. Studying screening among specific Caribbean groups of African-descent may yield data that both clarifies health disparities between US-born African-Americans and whites and illuminates the specific subpopulations at risk in these growing immigrant communities.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Blacks*
  • Caribbean Region
  • Early Detection of Cancer*
  • Emigrants and Immigrants*
  • Humans
  • Patient Participation*