Cervical cancer screening remains a challenge in developing countries due to a complex array of problems. This paper aimed to describe the experience with organization of cervical cancer screening in three districts of Campinas and the surrounding region in São Paulo State, Brazil, and to report the resulting data. The program was organized in a pyramid format, and the health care hierarchy was defined according to the complexity and total number of medical procedures. Screening has been extended currently to 88 municipalities, of which 51 are equipped with colposcopy and eight have facilities for treating advanced cervical cancer. The standardized incidence rate for cervical cancer in Campinas was 14.2/100,000 women per year in 1993-1995, and the standardized mortality rate per district ranged from 2.7 to 3.0 per 100,000 women in 1997-1998. This project has clearly shown that hierarchical and decentralized organization of health procedures is a necessary condition for achieving the goals of an effective cervical cancer screening program.