Cervical cancer is largely preventable. Screening by regular pelvic exam and pap smears can identify premalignant lesions, which can be effectively treated before the occurrence of the cancer. Regular screening also increases the probability of diagnosing early stages
of the cancer and improving survival (Gatta et al., 1998). The Council of the European Union and the European Commission promote population based cancer screening programmes among member States (European Union, 2003; European Commission,
2008c). OECD countries have instituted screening programmes, but the periodicity and target groups vary. In addition, the discovery that cervical cancer is caused by sexual transmission of certain forms of the Human Papilloma Virus has led to the development
of promising cancer preventing vaccines (Harper et al., 2006). The efficacy and safety of those vaccines is now well established, but debates about cost‐effectiveness and the implications of vaccination programmes for teenagers for a sexually transmitted
disease continue in a number of countries (Huang, 2008).