Facts and Stats

General Information About Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is a disease in which malignant cancer cells form in the tissues of the cervix.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the major risk factor for cervical cancer.

There are usually no signs or symptoms of early cervical cancer but it can be detected early with regular check-ups.

Signs and symptoms of cervical cancer include vaginal bleeding and pelvic pain, among others.

For more information please refer to the cervical cancer section on our webpage: cervical cancer.

Why cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer is a largely preventable disease, but worldwide it is one of the leading causes of cancer death in women. Most deaths occur in low- to middle-income countries.

Worldwide, a woman dies of cervical cancer every two minutes.

Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death of women in developing countries.

Cervical cancer claims over 275,000 women’s lives each year, and nearly 90% of these deaths occur in developing countries

Cervical Cancer At a Glance

The maps in these figures illustrates global differences in incidence and mortality rates between countries and regions of the world. These maps do not include the wide disparities in incidence and mortality between areas within specificc countries, which are related to socioeconomic and geographic variation, gender bias and culturally determined factors that can all severely restrict access to preventive services among some groups of women.

The following data clearly illustrates the great differences found between women living in high-income versus low- to middle-income countries.

Cervical Cancer Facts

In 2012, 528,000 new cases of cervical cancer were diagnosed worldwide; of these, a large majority, over 85% occurred in less developed regions.

In the same year, 266,000 women died of cervical cancer worldwide; almost 9 out of every 10 of these, or 231,000 women in total, lived and died in low- to middle-income countries. In contrast, 35,000, or just 1 out of every 10 of these women, lived and died in high-income countries.

The main reason for these disparities is the relative lack of effective prevention and early detection and treatment programs, and the lack of equal access to such programs. Without these interventions, cervical cancer is usually only detected when it is already at an advanced stage so that it is too late for effective treatment, and therefore mortality is high.