Purpose The goal of this study was to synthesize evidence comparing cancer screening receipt between cancer survivors and non-cancer controls by conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Methods We searched PubMed, EMBASE, and CINAHL databases from inception through April 1, 2010 using search terms related to cancer, survivorship, and cancer screening. Studies were included if they reported a comparison of cancer screening receipt between cancer survivors and non-cancer controls. We performed a meta-analysis on the effect of cancer survivorship on breast, cervical, colorectal, and prostate cancer screening receipt.
Results Our search strategy identified 1,778 titles, of which 20 met our inclusion/exclusion criteria. In our meta-analyses, cancer survivors were more likely to be screened for breast, cervical, colorectal, and prostate cancer than non-cancer controls (pooled odds ratio, 1.27; 95 % CI, 1.19–1.36). We observed significant heterogeneity between studies, most of which remained unexplained after subgroup and sensitivity analyses. Important contextual factors, such as how screening programs operate, were not reported in the primary literature. Many cancer survivors (along with non-cancer controls) still did not receive cancer screening.
Conclusion Compared with non-cancer controls, cancer survivors receive more frequent screening for new primary breast, cervical, colorectal, and prostate cancers. Future research should seek to determine whether increased uptake of cancer screening is associated with improved outcomes during cancer survivorship.
Implications for Cancer Survivors Our systematic review and meta-analysis demonstrated that cancer survivors received more frequent screening for second primary breast, cervical, colorectal, and prostate cancers than non-cancer controls. As many cancer survivors are at an increased risk of developing a second primary cancer, future research should seek to determine whether this increased uptake of cancer screening in cancer survivors leads to improved outcomes during cancer survivorship.