Vigilance and prevention against cervical cancer urged in Cervical Cancer Awareness Month


     The Department of Health (DH) today (January 6) urged members of the public to support Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, which has been designated as every January by the International Agency for Research on Cancer under the World Health Organization, with an aim of eliminating this preventable disease by the end of this century through global co-operation.

     In 2020, it was the seventh most common female cancer with over 550 new cases and 159 deaths in Hong Kong.

     “Persistent infection with high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) may cause cervical cancer. Risk factors for HPV infection or cervical cancer include sexual intercourse at an early age, multiple sexual partners, smoking and weakened immunity. Therefore, it is advisable for people to practise safe sex (e.g. use condoms and avoid having multiple sexual partners) and avoid tobacco smoking,” a spokesman for the DH advised.

     Both HPV vaccination and cervical screening have proven to be effective preventive measures against cervical cancer. Since the 2019/20 school year, the DH has provided free HPV vaccination to eligible Primary Five school girls under the Hong Kong Childhood Immunisation Programme through the school outreach vaccination service. As of July 2022, the coverage rate for the first and second doses of HPV vaccination for Primary Five and Six female students in 2020/21 school year were 88 per cent and 86 per cent respectively. The Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases under the Centre for Health Protection of the DH updated the use of HPV vaccine in Hong Kong in November last year and recommended the Government to provide mop-up HPV vaccination for secondary school female students or older girls (18 years or below). A one-off catch up programme is under planning, in which mop-up vaccination would be arranged for the girls in the aforementioned target group in 2023 to 2024 subject to the availability of vaccines. Details will be announced in due course.

     Apart from that, women aged 25 to 64 who ever had sex should receive regular cervical screening. According to the Population Health Survey 2020, among the female population in that age group, around half had ever had cervical screening. The Government has been promulgating cervical screening in collaboration with the healthcare sector, and has launched the Cervical Screening Programme in 2004. The major service providers include the Maternal and Child Health Centres (MCHCs) and Woman Health Centres of the DH, non-governmental organisations and private healthcare providers. The MCHCs currently offer subsidised cervical screening to the public, at $100 per screening; payment is waived for recipients of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance and holders of the Certificate for Waiver of Medical Charges.

     To raise public awareness of preventing cervical cancer and the importance of having regular cervical screening, the DH will continue to conduct various health promotion activities. For more information on cervical cancer and screening, please visit