The Global Impact of Cervical Cancer

February 7, 2017
  • Death from cervical cancer is preventable with vaccination, screening, and treatment.
  • In 2012, there was an estimated 527,000 new cases of cervical cancer and 265,700 cervical cancer deaths worldwide.1
  • Based on current estimates the number of deaths is projected to rise to 443,000 annually by 2030, a 67 percent increase.2
  • Cervical cancer is the 4th most common cancer in women worldwide and the primary cause of cancer-related deaths among women in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment

  • Virtually all cases of cervical cancer are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, the most common viral infection of the reproductive system, and it infects most sexually active men and women in their lifetimes.
  • HPV infection can be prevented when girls and boys are vaccinated against the virus.
  • Cervical cancer can also be easily prevented through screening of women and treatment of precancerous lesions.
  • HPV vaccination and cervical cancer screening are cheap and efficient and can be given in conjunction with other health and development programs

Cervical Cancer in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

  • Nearly 85 percent of cases and 90 percent of deaths from cervical cancer occur in LMICs.
  • Cervical cancer is a major cause of disability and death for women in their 30s and 40s, depriving families of mothers, caretakers and income. It pushes families into poverty and robs communities of their most productive human resources.
  • The HPV vaccine is one of the most cost-effective cancer prevention methods according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the leading global authority on health; and screening and treatment methods for LMICs are available. In LMICs, a woman can receive lifesaving screening and treatment for as little as $25.3


Estimated Cervical Cancer Mortality Worldwide in 2012

(Estimated age-standardized rates (World) per 100,000)

Image of a map showing the estimated cervical cancer mortality worldwide in 2012




1. American Cancer Society. Global Cancer Facts & Figures 3rd Edition. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2015.

2. WHO: Health Statistics and Information Systems. Projections of Mortality and causes of death 2015 and 2030. Available at: