Racially Conscious Cancer Screening Guidelines – a Path Towards Culturally Competent Science
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Baez, Yefri A.
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CitationBaez, Yefri A. 2020. Racially Conscious Cancer Screening Guidelines – a Path Towards Culturally Competent Science. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Medical School.
AbstractObjective: To review the racial composition of the study populations that the current U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) screening guidelines for lung, breast, and colorectal cancer are based on, and the effects of their application across non-white individuals.
Summary Background Data: USPSTF guidelines commonly become the basis for establishing standards of care, yet providers are often unaware of the racial composition of the study populations they are based on.
Methods: We accessed the USPSTF screening guidelines for lung, breast, and colorectal cancer via their website, and reviewed all referenced publications for randomized controlled trials (RCTs), focusing on the racial composition of their study populations. We then used PubMed to identify publications addressing the generalizability of such guidelines across non-white individuals. Lastly, we reviewed all guidelines published by non-USPSTF organizations to identify the availability of race-specific statements.
Results: Most RCTs used as basis for the current USPSTF guidelines either did not report race, or enrolled cohorts that were not representative of the U.S. population. Several studies were identified demonstrating the broad application of such guidelines across non-white individuals can lead to underdiagnosis and higher levels of advanced disease. Nearly all guideline-issuing bodies fail to provide race-specific recommendations, despite often acknowledging increased disease burden among non-whites.
Conclusion: Concerted efforts to overcome limitations in the generalizability of RCTs are required in order to provide screening guidelines that are truly applicable to non-white populations. Broader policy changes to improve the pipeline for minority populations into science and medicine are needed to address the ongoing lack of diversity in these fields.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37364937