Cervical cancer screening in low- and middle-income countries

Mt Sinai J Med. 2011 May-Jun;78(3):319-26. doi: 10.1002/msj.20263.


Cervical cancer is a leading cause of death among women in the developing world. Conventional cytology-based cervical cancer screening programs have been largely ineffectual at reducing the cervical cancer burden in low-resource settings. In response, alternative strategies have been tested, such as visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) screening and human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA-based testing. This manuscript reviews literature addressing the programmatic approaches to implementing cervical cancer screening programs in low-resource settings, highlighting the challenges, barriers, and successes related to the use of cytology, VIA, and HPV-DNA based screening programs.

MeSH terms

  • Acetic Acid / economics
  • Developing Countries / economics*
  • Developing Countries / statistics & numerical data
  • Early Detection of Cancer / economics*
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods
  • El Salvador
  • Female
  • Genetic Testing
  • Humans
  • Latin America
  • Papillomavirus Infections / complications
  • Papillomavirus Infections / economics
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / economics*
  • Poverty / economics
  • Poverty / statistics & numerical data
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / economics*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / etiology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Vaginal Smears / economics*
  • Vaginal Smears / statistics & numerical data


  • Papillomavirus Vaccines
  • Acetic Acid