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J Natl Cancer Inst Monogr. 2013 Dec;2013(47):216-23. doi: 10.1093/jncimonographs/lgt031.

Inclusion of underserved racial and ethnic groups in cancer intervention research using new media: a systematic literature review.

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Population Studies and Disparities Research Program, Karmanos Cancer Institute, Department of Oncology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, 4100 John R - MM03CB, Detroit, MI 48201.



An increasing number of behavioral and psychosocial cancer interventions incorporate new media elements that are digital, networked, and interactive. However, it is unclear to what extent new media is being leveraged to benefit underserved racial and ethnic groups who disproportionately bear the burden of cancer. This inquiry is timely in light of growing evidence that these groups are receptive to new media. A systematic literature review was conducted to assess the inclusion of these groups in research on cancer-related new media interventions and use of new media to reduce racial and ethnic cancer disparities.


A systematic search of three databases was conducted for articles published between January 2000 and March 2012 that presented studies of user experience with a behavioral or psychosocial cancer-related intervention with at least one new media component.


Thirty-six articles were included in the final review. In about one-quarter of the studies, less than 20% of participants were African American, Latino, Asian American, or American Indian. In less than 10% of the studies, 80% or more of the samples were members of the aforementioned groups. Almost one-third of the studies reviewed were categorized as disparity focused but limited data were available on racial and ethnic differences in responses to new media interventions.


Findings suggest that the promise and potential of new media cancer interventions are largely unrealized among the underserved. Additional research is needed to investigate a wide range of issues related to the development and delivery of such interventions in diverse racial and ethnic groups.

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