The implementation of colorectal cancer screening interventions in low- and middle-income countries: a scoping review

Desiree Schliemann, Kogila Ramanathan, Nicholas Matovu, Ciaran O'Neill, Frank Kee, Tin Tin Su, Michael Donnelly

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18 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) experienced increasing rates of colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence in the last decade and lower 5-year survival rates compared to high-income countries (HICs) where the implementation of screening and treatment services have advanced. This review scoped and mapped the literature regarding the content, implementation and uptake of CRC screening interventions as well as opportunities and challenges for the implementation of CRC screening interventions in LMICs.
Methods: We systematically followed a five-step scoping review framework to identify and review relevant literature about CRC screening in LMICs, written in the English language before February 2020. We searched Medline, Embase, Web of Science and Google Scholar for studies targeting the general, asymptomatic, at-risk adult population. The TIDieR tool and an implementation checklist were used to extract data from empirical studies; and we extracted data-informed insights from policy reviews and commentaries.
Results: CRC screening interventions (n = 24 studies) were implemented in nine middle-income countries. Population-based screening programmes (n = 11) as well as small-scale screening interventions (n = 13) utilised various recruitment strategies. Interventions that recruited participants face-to-face (alone or in combination with other recruitment strategies) (10/15), opportunistic clinic-based screening interventions (5/6) and educational interventions combined with screening (3/4), seemed to be the strategies that consistently achieved an uptake of > 65% in LMICs. FOBT/FIT and colonoscopy uptake ranged between 14 and 100%. The most commonly reported implementation indicator was ‘uptake/reach’. There was an absence of detail regarding implementation indicators and there is a need to improve reporting practice in order to disseminate learning about how to implement programmes.
Conclusion: Opportunities and challenges for the implementation of CRC screening programmes were related to the reporting of CRC cases and screening, cost-effective screening methods, knowledge about CRC and screening, staff resources and training, infrastructure of the health care system, financial resources, public health campaigns, policy commitment from governments, patient navigation, planning of screening programmes and quality assurance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1125
JournalBMC Cancer
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2021


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