Effectiveness of interventions for improving timely diagnosis of breast and cervical cancers in low-income and middle-income countries: a systematic review

Chukwudi A. Nnaji, Paul Kuodi, Fiona M. Walter, Jennifer Moodley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives To systematically synthesise available evidence on the nature and effectiveness of interventions for improving timely diagnosis of breast and cervical cancers in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). Design A systematic review of published evidence. The review was conducted and reported in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses. Data sources A comprehensive search of published literature was conducted. In addition, relevant grey literature sources and bibliographical references of included studies were searched for potentially eligible evidence. Study selection Studies published between January 2010 and November 2020 were eligible for inclusion. To be eligible, studies had to report on interventions/strategies targeted at women, the general public or healthcare workers, aimed at improving the timely diagnosis of breast and/or cervical cancers in LMIC settings. Data extraction and synthesis Literature search, screening, study selection, data extraction and quality appraisal were conducted by two independent reviewers. Evidence was synthesised and reported using a global taxonomy framework for early cancer diagnosis. Results From the total of 10 593 records identified, 21 studies conducted across 20 LMICs were included in this review. Most of the included studies (16/21) focused primarily on interventions addressing breast cancers; two focused on cervical cancer while the rest examined multiple cancer types. Reported interventions targeted healthcare workers (12); women and adolescent girls (7) and both women and healthcare workers (3). Eight studies reported on interventions addressing access delays; seven focused on interventions addressing diagnostic delays; two reported on interventions targeted at addressing both access and diagnostic delays, and four studies assessed interventions addressing access, diagnostic and treatment delays. While most interventions were demonstrated to be feasible and effective, many of the reported outcome measures are of limited clinical relevance to diagnostic timeliness. Conclusions Though limited, evidence suggests that interventions aimed at addressing barriers to timely diagnosis of breast and cervical cancer are feasible in resource-limited contexts. Future interventions need to address clinically relevant measures to better assess efficacy of interventions. PROSPERO registration number CRD42020177232.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere054501
JournalBMJ Open
Volume12
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 25 Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2022. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.

Keywords

  • breast tumours
  • oncology
  • organisation of health services
  • public health

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