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J Health Dispar Res Pract. 2015 Fall;8(3):133-156.

Factors Associated with Colorectal Cancer Screening among Younger African American Men: A Systematic Review.

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University of Minnesota Medical School, Dept. of Family Medicine & Community Health, 717 Delaware St. SE, Suite 166, Minneapolis, MN 55414, Tel. 612-626-3894, Fax. 612-626-6782,
Texas A&M University, Dept. of Health & Kinesiology, TAMU 4243, College Station, TX 77843.
Texas A&M University, Medical Sciences Library, TAMU 4462, College Station, TX 77843.


Of cancers affecting both men and women, colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading cancer killer among African Americans in the U.S. Compared to White men, African American men have incidence and mortality rates 25% and 50% higher from CRC. Despite the benefits of early detection and the availability of effective screening, most adults over age 50 have not undergone testing, and disparities in colorectal cancer screening (CRCS) persist. Owing to CRC's high incidence and younger age at presentation among African American men, CRCS is warranted at age 45 rather than 50. However, the factors influencing young adult (i.e., age < 50) African American men's intention to screen and/or their CRCS behaviors has not been systematically assessed. To assess whether the factors influencing young adult African American men's screening intentions and behaviors are changeable through structured health education interventions, we conducted a systematic review, with the two-fold purpose of: (1) synthesizing studies examining African American men's knowledge, beliefs, and behaviors regarding CRCS; and (2) assessing these studies' methodological quality. Utilizing Garrard's Matrix Method, a total of 28 manuscripts met our inclusion/exclusion criteria: 20 studies followed a non-experimental research design, 4 comprised a quasi-experimental design, and 4, an experimental design. Studies were published between 2002 and 2012; the majority, between 2007 and 2011. The factors most frequently assessed were behaviors (79%), beliefs (68%), and knowledge (61%) of CRC and CRCS. Six factors associated with CRC and CRCS emerged: previous CRCS, CRC test preference, perceived benefits, perceived barriers, CRC/CRCS knowledge, and physician support/recommendation. Studies were assigned a methodological quality score (MQS - ranging from 0 to 21). The mean MQS of 10.9 indicated these studies were, overall, of medium quality and suffered from specific flaws. Alongside a call for more rigorous research, this review provides important suggestions for practice and culturally relevant interventions.


African Americans; Colorectal Neoplasms; Early Detection of Cancer; Men; Review


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