Objectives: Screening for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer in an average-risk population is widely recommended in national and international guidelines although their implementation varies. Using a conceptual framework that draws on implementation and health systems research, we provide an overview of systematic literature reviews that address health system and service barriers or facilitators to effective cancer screening. Methods: Using a systematic approach, we searched Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Ovid Medline, Ovid Embase, Web of Science, PsychInfo and other internet sources. We included systematic reviews of screening interventions (i.e. targeting people at average risk) for breast, cervical and colorectal cancer. The analysis included 90 systematic reviews. Results: This review identified a multitude of barriers and facilitators affecting the health system, the capabilities of individuals in the system and their intentions. A large proportion of the available evidence focused on uptake. The reviews demonstrated that health system factors influenced participation, as well as quality and effectiveness of the service provided. The barriers with the biggest impact were knowledge/education, mainly of clients but also providers (capability barriers) and beliefs and values (intention barriers) of the eligible population. These findings complement the usual focus on psychological and social barriers to informed participation by individuals that dominate the screening literature. The facilitators with the most supporting evidence were educational interventions (overcoming capability and intention barriers), invitation letters, reminders and appointments. These were mainly directed at eligible individuals and, to a lesser extent, to providers and healthcare professionals. Only a small number of reviews, mainly from Europe, specified organized, rather than opportunistic, screening programmes. In those, low participation was the most frequently cited barrier and invitation letters (including physician endorsement, phone calls and reminders to non-responders and healthcare professionals) were the most prevalent facilitators. Conclusion: Despite evidence of barriers and facilitators to screening participation and opportunistic screening, further health systems research covering the entire screening system for organized programmes is required.

Additional Metadata
Keywords cancer, screening, systems
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1177/1355819619842314, hdl.handle.net/1765/118083
Journal Journal of Health Services Research & Policy
Priaulx, J, Turnbull, E. (Eleanor), Heijnsdijk, E.A.M, Csanádi, M. (Marcell), Senore, C, de Koning, H.J, & McKee, M. (2019). The influence of health systems on breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening: an overview of systematic reviews using health systems and implementation research frameworks. Journal of Health Services Research & Policy. doi:10.1177/1355819619842314