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(March 2005) New and effective approaches now make it possible to reduce the burden of cervical cancer in developing countries, where the disease takes its heaviest toll. This preventable disease results from abnormal cell changes on the cervix (the opening of the womb) and kills more than one-quarter of a million women every year worldwide. The cancer is most likely to develop in women ages 35 and older—women who are often missed by conventional maternal and child health services.

The Alliance for Cervical Cancer Prevention has studied screening and treatment approaches in Africa, Latin America, and Asia, with the understanding that many women in these regions may only be screened once or twice in their lifetimes. The results of their research demonstrate that it is possible to reduce illness and death from cervical cancer with relatively modest investments in health services and training.