Prevent Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide. It is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women. Learn about the appropriate screening tests and the HPV vaccine to help prevent cervical cancer.

All women are at risk for cervical cancer. However, data show it occurs most often in women over the age of 30. Black and Hispanic women experience higher rates of HPV-associated cervical cancer than non-Hispanic women and women of other races and ethnicities. In 2018, there were an estimated 570,000 new cases of cervical cancer worldwide.1 The common virus human papillomavirus (HPV) causes almost all cervical cancers.  When found early, cervical cancer is highly treatable and associated with long-term quality of life.

Cervical Cancer Prevention

cervical cancer awareness

Cervical cancer is a preventable and curable disease if detected early and managed effectively. In January 2019, World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with UN Agenciesexternal icon and other public partners, launched a global strategy to accelerate cervical cancer elimination for the period of 2020–2030. These strategies include:

  • Vaccinating girls with the HPV vaccine by age 15 years
  • Screening women against cervical cancer with a high-performance test by 35 years of age and again by 45 years of age; and
  • Identifying and treating women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Meeting these targets allow countries to attain the goal of less than four cervical cancer cases per 100,000 women. CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control (DCPC) leads CDC’s efforts in preventing and detecting cancers early and improving the overall health of cancer survivors. For example, CDC’s Inside Knowledge About Gynecologic Cancer Campaign shares educational materials with communities and healthcare providers on five types of cancers, including uterine sarcoma, vulvar, ovarian, vaginal, and cervical cancer.

Working Together to Reduce Cervical Cancer

We all play a role in preventing cervical cancer. Learn how you can support women in your life reduce their risk for cervical cancer.

What can women do?

What can parents do?

  • Discuss cervical cancer risk factors and HPV screenings with your child’s healthcare provider.
  • Vaccinate both young girls and boys to prevent future cases of HPV-specific cancers.

What can healthcare professionals do?

woman consulting with medical professional

Consult with your medical provider about cervical cancer recommendations and screenings.

What can communities do?

  • Collaborate with partners and advocates to educate community members on the prevention and control of cervical cancer.
  • Build partnerships with local public health organizations and health departments to advise community members about cervical cancer prevention.
  • Identify ways to increase accessibility to cervical cancer services with your local health officials, to address challenges such as transportation and healthcare costs, that may deter one from seeking medical care.
  • Point community members to HPV vaccinations and cervical cancer screenings.
  • Communicate accurate and culturally-sensitive public health messages about cervical cancer prevention.
Page last reviewed: October 19, 2021