Cervical cancer is unique among common cancers: it has a single, known cause – the human papillomavirus (HPV) – and highly effective screening and prevention tools have the potential to virtually eliminate deaths from the disease. Research into HPV and cervical cancer detection has helped to reduce U.S. cervical cancer death rates by nearly 70 percent since the 1950s.
Despite these advances, nearly 12,000 American women are still diagnosed with cervical cancer annually, primarily because they do not receive routine screening and follow-up care. Moreover, with limited access to vaccines, screening, and treatment in low resource countries, annual mortality is 250,000 worldwide.
While screening and vaccination remain the first lines of defense, researchers are also working to improve treatments for women diagnosed with cervical cancer.