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Somali’s perceptions, beliefs and barriers toward breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening: a socioecological scoping review

Muhanad Ahmed Ali (Faculty of Health, School of Health Policy and Management, York University, Toronto, Canada)
Farah Ahmad (Faculty of Health, School of Health Policy and Management, York University, Toronto, Canada)
Marina Morrow (Faculty of Health, School of Health Policy and Management, York University, Toronto, Canada)

International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care

ISSN: 1747-9894

Article publication date: 7 May 2021

Issue publication date: 1 June 2021

121

Abstract

Purpose

While there is literature that examines factors associated with low participation in cancer screening among Canadian ethnic groups, there is limited understanding of black visible minorities, particularly Somalis. Thus, the purpose of this study is to synthesize knowledge pertaining to the perceptions, beliefs and barriers of Somali women and men toward screening for breast, cervical and colorectal cancers in countries such as Canada.

Design/methodology/approach

The scoping review methodology was used to search for peer-reviewed articles that explicitly examined perceptions, beliefs and barriers among Somalis toward screening for breast, cervical and colorectal cancers in developed countries. The following electronic databases were searched without time frame restrictions, namely, OVID Medline, Embase, CINHAL, PubMed, Scopes and ProQuest. A total of 402 peer-reviewed articles were identified and screened. Three articles were identified through reference list screening (one eligible) and consultation with experts in the networks (two eligible). In total, 12 studies met the inclusion criteria for synthesis. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the selected articles for key themes and the synthesis was informed by the socio-ecological model.

Findings

The majority of studies originated from the USA and focused primarily on Somali women and cervical cancer screening. Themes that emerged from the literature include individual-level negative experiences and socio-cultural perceptions/beliefs; community-level barriers in cancer screening; and systemic challenges in navigating the health-care system. Many of the studies focused on individual and community-level determinants of cancer screening, with little attention to systemic level determinants. Other gaps identified include factors influencing Somali men’s low participation in cancer screening; limited studies on colorectal cancer and Somali women; and specific cancer-screening barriers faced by Somalis within the Canadian context.

Originality/value

The findings of the review reveal multiple cancer screening challenges for Somali communities and the gained insights should inform both health and social care practitioners and policymakers.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Librarians Thumeka Mgwigwi (York University) and Angela Hamilton (University of Toronto) with their assistance in the search strategy.

Citation

Ali, M.A., Ahmad, F. and Morrow, M. (2021), "Somali’s perceptions, beliefs and barriers toward breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening: a socioecological scoping review", International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 224-238. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMHSC-06-2020-0059

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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