For many centuries, the diagnosis of cancer was a death sentence. However, in the last 50 years, we have seen progress in the management and control of some cancers, cervical cancer being one of them. It is preventable. Yet, every year, cervical cancer causes the death of more than 30 000 women in the WHO European Region. The Sixtieth World Health Assembly (2007) reconfirmed the global importance of this problem and the readiness of WHO to assist Member States to resolve it. The meeting of policy-makers and programme managers on strengthening cervical cancer prevention in Europe provided a forum for sharing the best practices available in the countries of the WHO European Region. Plans were developed on how to overcome existing barriers in those Member States that have expressed their willingness to protect women from this disease. Representatives of 46 Members States and of international partner organizations actively participated in the meeting. Recent WHO strategies and publications related to the prevention and management of cervical cancer and the introduction of HPV vaccines in countries, and to assisting in the development of national policies and programmes on the use of HPV vaccines within the broader context of cancer control and reproductive health, were presented and discussed. The report of the meeting may assist WHO Member States in strengthening informed decision-making on the prevention of cervical cancer.