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Cervical Cancer Awareness Campaign

Last updated on 26th January 2024

The Regional Directorate for Health (DRS) is promoting a cervical cancer awareness campaign as part of European Cervical Cancer Week, which runs until Sunday the 28th of January.

As part of this campaign, the DRS hopes to raise awareness of key cervical cancer prevention strategies, particularly in 4 areas: (1) the relationship between cancer and human papillomavirus (HPV), (2) HPV vaccination, (3) HPV screening, and (4) other cervical cancer prevention behaviours.

Cancer and HPV

Cervical cancer (CC) is the fourth most common cancer in women. In 2020, around 600,000 new cases were reported worldwide, and more than 300,000 women died from this type of cancer. In Portugal and the Autonomous Region of Madeira, there were about 4 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants in 2021.

In 99% of cases, CC is caused by a persistent infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV), which affects the cervix (the lower part of the uterus). This HPV infection is the most common sexually transmitted infection worldwide, which can affect the skin, genital area, and throat and then progress to cancer.

HPV Vaccination

HPV Vaccination is part of the Regional Vaccination Plan and has been administered to girls since 2008 and boys since 2020, from the age of 10. The HPV vaccine is free, safe, and effective.

Screening through HPV testing

In the Autonomous Region of Madeira, the cervical cancer screening programme is aimed at women between 25 and 60 years of age. Screening is carried out through a test for HPV detection in a cervicovaginal collection, every 5 years. The examination is carried out by the family doctor or assistant in the health centres in the area of residence. All appointments and results are telephone based.

Further information is available from the Screening Centre of the Autonomous Region of Madeira (Centro Dr. Agostinho Cardoso, tel.: 291 149 020; email:

Other Cervical Cancer Preventive Behaviours

Among cancer preventive behaviours, this campaign highlights the importance of not smoking or giving up smoking and adopting safe sexual behaviours to reduce the risk of HPV transmission.

Please note, that no vaccination is one hundred percent safe and effective as all humans are not the same, and what is good for one may prove harmful to another.

Samantha Gannon

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