Women’s Cancers

Chikumbuso Women and Orphans Project in Lusaka, Zambia. Photo by Paul Morse.

Women’s cancers are the next frontier in global health: every year, over 785,000 women die from cervical and breast cancer worldwide, and 70 percent of these deaths occur in developing countries. Studies have found that women living with HIV are five times more likely to develop cervical cancer than those who are HIV-negative.

Please view our fact sheets for information on the health burden of breast and cervical cancers, risk factors, and interventions to address them:

For the latest scientific and operational updates on cervical and breast cancers, please visit our cervical cancer and breast cancer pages. 




Facts about Breast and Cervical Cancers

  • Around 85 percent of the global burden of cervical cancer occurs in less developed regions.
  • There were 485,000 incident cases and 236,000 deaths from cervical cancer in 2013.
  • In less developed regions, breast and cervical cancers are the most frequent cancers among women.
  • In 2013, there were 1.8 million incident cases of breast cancer and 464,000 deaths globally among women. 63 percent of the breast cancer burden occurred in developing countries.
  • Studies have found that HIV-infected women are 5 times more likely to develop cervical cancer.
  • Costs:
    • In low-resource settings, direct medical costs of detecting and removing cervical pre-cancer through “See-and-Treat” can amount to less than $25 per woman.
    • Gavi’s price for a complete, two-dose HPV vaccination for one adolescent girl is about $9.00.
  • Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, estimates that for every 1,000 girls vaccinated against HPV, an estimated 15.1 cervical cancer deaths are averted. The vaccine has the greatest potential for life-saving impact in sub-Saharan Africa, where cervical cancer mortality is the highest in the world.
  • HPV vaccines are highly effective, and can prevent up to 90% of cervical cancers.
  • Cervical cancer was the leading cause of cancer deaths in women in 45 countries in 2013.
  • For women, in 2013, breast cancer was the leading cancer cause of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) lost in developing countries.
  • By 2030, cervical cancer is expected to claim nearly half a million lives per year, with over 95% of deaths concentrated in low- and middle-income countries.

General Women’s Cancer Resources

World Health Statistics 2016: Monitoring Health for the SDGs

2016 | WHO

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Cancer Atlas

2016 | American Cancer Society, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Union for International Cancer Control

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Cancer Today – Data Visualization Tools to Replace GLOBOCAN

2016 | International Agency for Research on Cancer

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Global Cancer Burden 2013

JULY 2015 | JAMA Oncology

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US President Obama Announces Cancer MoonShot 2020 in Final State of the Union Address

June 2016 | Cancer MoonShot 2020

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The True Successes of Cancer Research Have Been Made in Prevention

April 2016 | JAMA Oncology

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National Cancer Institute Opens Online Platform for Cancer Research Ideas

April 2016 | National Cancer Institute

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Virtual Cancer Health Advisor in Development

April 2016 | IBM, American Cancer Society

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Cancer Control Capacity in 50 Low- and Middle-Income Countries

February 2015 | Global Public Health

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Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon in the News

World Cancer Day 2016 – UNAIDS Calls for Greater Integration of Health Services to Save Women’s Lives

February 2016 | UNAIDS

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A new strategy, developed after months of collaboration between PEPFAR and the Bush Institute-led Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon (PRRR) partnership, builds on the catalytic work of Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon over the past seven years, and evolves that collaboration to save even more lives.

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