J Gynecol Oncol.  2009 Mar;20(1):1-7. 10.3802/jgo.2009.20.1.1.

Current status of cervical cancer and HPV infection in Korea

  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Medicine, University of Ulsan, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Korea. ytkim@amc.seoul.kr


Cervical cancer is an important cause of cancer-related deaths in women in developing countries. In Korea, cervical cancer is the third leading cancer among females and is fifth highest in mortality. The persistent oncogenic human papillomavirus (HPV) infections are the greatest risk of developing cervical intraepithelial neoplasia and invasive cancer. The overall prevalence of HPV was 10.4% in Korea and strong risk factors for HPV infection included a young age at sexual debut. The National Cancer Screening Program, which includes cervical cancer screening, has the following principles: the main screening tool is the Papanicolaou test conducted by gynecologists, which targets all women age 30 and over, and which is done every 2 years. HPV DNA tests have not yet been permitted as a screening test for cervical cancer in Korea; however, these are conducted along with a Pap test for screening cervical cancer in the clinic. The use of prophylactic HPV vaccine has been accepted in Korea; The Korean Society of Gynecologic Oncology and Colposcopy's recommendation for routine vaccination is for females aged 15-17 years with a catch-up vaccination recommended for females aged 18-26 years who have not been previously vaccinated. However, many people in Korea are not familiar with the HPV vaccine. Therefore, it is necessary to improve awareness for the disease and HPV vaccination and to establish the effective strategies to obtain funding for HPV vaccination. In the future, cervical cancer is expected to disappear throughout the world, including the Asia Pacific region, through a combination of vaccination and qualified screening programs for cervical cancer.


Cervical cancer; Human papillomavirus vaccines

MeSH Terms

Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia
Developing Countries
Early Detection of Cancer
Financial Management
Human Papillomavirus DNA Tests
Mass Screening
Papillomavirus Vaccines
Risk Factors
Uterine Cervical Neoplasms
Vaginal Smears
Papillomavirus Vaccines
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