Around 85 percent of the global burden of cervical cancer occurs in less developed regions.
Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon® was launched in September 2011 by the George W. Bush Institute, the United States Government through the U.S. Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Susan G. Komen®, and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
Now an independent non-profit affiliated with the George W. Bush Institute, Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon works with national governments, non-governmental (NGO) and multilateral organizations, the private sector, and key in-country leadership to prevent and treat cervical cancer, and provide services for the early detection and treatment of breast cancer, with locally adapted solutions. Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon partners deliver services on the ground in each of our countries of engagement. A small headquarters staff coordinates these efforts and resources, and provides oversight and technical assistance.
Women’s cancers are the next frontier in global health: every year, over 785,000 women die from cervical and breast cancer worldwide, and 70 percent of these deaths occur in developing countries. Many of these deaths are among women with HIV/AIDS, including those who are benefiting from anti-retroviral therapy. Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon has demonstrated that we can reduce the number of unnecessary deaths in low- and middle-income countries. Since our inception, we have screened nearly 200,000 women for cervical cancer and over 6,000 women for breast cancer. Our “Lives Saved” model, developed by experts at Johns Hopkins University, indicates that the screening and treatment programs we support have averted about 34,826 deaths.
Reduce deaths from cervical cancer by 25 percent among women screened and treated in partner countries;
Achieve at least 80 percent coverage of vaccination against HPV;
Studies have found that HIV-infected women are 5 times more likely to develop cervical cancer.
In less developed regions, breast and cervical cancers are the most frequent cancers among women.
By 2030, cervical cancer is expected to claim nearly half a million lives per year, with over 95% of deaths concentrated in
low- and middle-income countries.
Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon gives girls and women in low-resource settings the opportunity to thrive throughout their lives. While our specific activities vary by location, they often begin with educating communities about breast and cervical cancer, and then mobilizing women to advocate for access to prevention, diagnosis, treatment, care and support. In many places, we build on the infrastructure, training and referral networks already established by PEPFAR.
Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon offers pre-adolescent girls the HPV vaccination, which prevents most cases of cervical cancer. We support country-led vaccination campaigns with vaccine donations, programmatic expertise for rollout and implementation, and resources for community education and outreach.
We continue our assistance across the lifespan by supporting partners to screen women for breast cancer via clinical breast examinations, and providing screening for cervical cancer for women aged 30-49 years,1 particularly those living with HIV.
Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon’s partners implement the simple, inexpensive cervical pre-cancer “See-and-Treat” screening approach. It involves visual inspection of the cervix with vinegar (acetic acid) to detect pre-cancerous lesions, followed soon or immediately afterward, when necessary, by ablative or electrosurgical (LEEP) treatment, as dictated by the woman’s needs. We are also helping test new molecular testing technologies that will help focus resources on women at highest risk of developing cancer.
In cases where cervical or breast cancer is suspected, we refer patients to appropriate facilities for diagnosis and treatment. Our support to women with cancer does not end there: in some locations, we cover the costs of their transportation to treatment facilities, and soon will help with housing for them when treatment far from home is needed.
We are increasingly integrating what our partners do with other health and social services, including for reproductive health, maternal and child health, and community development and education. Girls and women benefit throughout their lives from Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon’s training and equipment of public and private health care providers, the expertise we offer to policy-makers who design and implement cancer-control programs, and our development of global standards, tools, and guidance for the monitoring and evaluation of programs in the field.
1 The Government of Zambia uses a target age range of 25-49 years.