It remains a grave concern that each year an estimated more than 40,000 females of all ages die due to breast cancer in Pakistan, which makes it a country having the highest rate of the disease in Asia. The disease curable, if diagnosed on time but fatal, if left untreated and unfortunately, a large number of women get affected by it just because awareness regarding this particular disease is inadequate which is the major reason, so is the inability to medically facilitate the patients once they are diagnosed and failure at the part of women and their families to get it diagnosed and treated, out of the fear of exposing themselves to “Na Mehram”
A number of patients admitted to hospitals for breast cancer treatment is lesser than the number of those who die untreated. The reason being that either they are too ashamed to speak about it because it is still considered a taboo in a society such as ours or else because they are misguided which consequently makes them suffer the effects of chemotherapy and the overall treatment’s aftereffects.
The disease has affected women across the country, especially in rural areas where discussing your disorders or health issues is considered immoral and unethical, let alone getting treated by the doctors. And there arises the need for them to consult the “Aalims” (religious scholars) instead of visiting the doctors. The treatment begins and a considerable amount of time is spent on it without achieving the expected results, and eventually, they give up on the patient, calling it “Allah’s Will.”
The fatal disease, furthermore, is not limited to middle-aged women only. Studies have shown that a greater number of girls of ages ranging from 20 to 30 are also affected by the disease, and they are mostly unaware of its symptoms, or else, are too reluctant to see a doctor for something as minor as a lump on the breast, or the other symptoms including color change or swelling.
“Through the awareness and self-examination programme offered to community health workers and the locals of villages, I saw women showing interest and participating in the programme, which is an achievement,” said Dr. Uzma Shamsi, while she addressed the students of Agha Khan University in a seminar organized in August 2017.
October is reserved for the breast cancer awareness each year, to enhance the awareness in general it is termed at PinkTober, and various organizations have taken it upon themselves to raise awareness regarding the disease as much as possible.
Pink Ribbon Pakistan, a Non-Profit, NGO duly certified from Pakistan Center for Philanthropy, is striving the best to fight against breast cancer by spreading awareness regarding the deadly disease. Aiming high, Pink Ribbon Pakistan is all set to start up their own hospital that will provide diagnostic and treatment facilities along with, proper counseling and guidance regarding prevention measures.
Pink Ribbon Pakistan also provide mobile breast cancer awareness and detection clinic facility to women across the country for free mammograms. Pink Ribbon’s commemorative stamps were, moreover, issued by PRCP that is considered the best 3rd world campaigning model at Canadian conference. Pink Ribbon added more to their contribution by initiating a Youth Awareness Programme in collaboration with HEC in order to spread awareness in more than 80 educational institutions with the help of more than 80,000 registered volunteers.
Pink Ribbon Pakistan is breaking the stereotypes through its constant struggle to aware women about the disease and to bring them on the platform where they can not only fight it but also help other women belonging to rural areas. Help those who cannot let go of the dominant cultural norms which make them choose death over the treatment.