Cervical cancer is an important public health problem among adult women in developing countries in South and Central America, the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa, and south and south-east Asia. It is the third most common cancer worldwide, and it is the leading cause of death from cancer among women in emerging countries (88%), where it causes about 242,000 deaths each year.
Unlike many cancers, cervical cancer can be prevented. Primary prevention of cervical cancer through early detection of the 14 high-risk strains of Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection (STI), that might cause cervical cancer, will contribute to reducing cancer mortality. However, cervical cancer remains largely uncontrollable in high-risk developing countries because of ineffective or no screening programs. It has been demonstrated that HPV testing on self-collected specimens for women not participating in regular screening programs is highly feasible and cost effective.