Think Pink: Pakistan Launches National Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign

Pink Ribbon launches national breast cancer awareness campaign in Pakistan. (Photo: Express Tribune)

Pink Ribbon launches national breast cancer awareness campaign in Pakistan. (Photo: Express Tribune)

The pink breast cancer ribbon was a little frayed and slightly smudged after getting tangled up in the Susan G. Komen and Planned Parenthood spectacle this past February. The importance of the symbolic pink ribbon however, has not been lost. Thanks to the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, breast cancer awareness–often on the minds of many Americans–will now play a greater role in the lives of Pakistani women as well.

With over 40,000 women dying of breast cancer each year, Pakistan is said to have the highest ratio of breast cancer patients in Asia. To increase education surrounding this curable affliction, the New York-based nonprofit launched “Pink Ribbon…a national breast cancer awareness campaign” in the country and designated 2012 as a starting point. With a goal of reaching 500,000 women across the country, the goal of the program is “to make [the Pakistani public] aware of precautionary measures” for the curable disease, said Omer Aftab, the nonprofit’s CEO, at a launch event in Peshawar.

Given Pakistan’s considerable poverty and the influx of Afghan refugees, as well as the poor’s lack of access to basic health care, the HEC chief explained that female health workers will be trained to work within the wide social dynamic in the developing nation. In an effort to launch and maintain a successful campaign, he told reporters the commission will “send doctors and mammography buses to areas where there is [a] high prevalence of breast cancer…[and] will hold free medical camps there.”

Introducing the Pink Ribbon Camaign, Aftab emphasized the importance of educating the women of Pakistan: “Usually patients consult doctors after the disease reaches its last stage. [Breast Cancer] may occur at any age, but it is curable, provided that it is detected and diagnosed in its early stages.”


Sabeen H. Ahmad is the Social Media Editor at