Annual cytological examination of cervical scrapings should virtually eliminate deaths from cervical cancer, but many deaths still occur because not all women are sufficiently motivated to have the examination. As part of a San Diego County Medical Society cancer control project, 2000 women were interviewed to evaluate motivating influences. It was found that most of the 70 per cent who had had the examination were motivated by the advice of physicians, rather than directly by lay publicity. Women who had not had the examination, more commonly the old and the poor, were not antagonistic but mostly unmotivated. Lay education to induce women to seek medical advice, and education of physicians to get them to urge and to carry out their part in routine annual cytologic examination of cervical exudate probably could bring about virtual elimination of death from cervical cancer.