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Cancer Ribbons: The Colours of Hope

Over time in our society, the cancer ribbon has become a well known symbol for all different kinds of cancer awareness. Many people would be surprised to know that pink cancer ribbons that we see so much of in our daily lives, are only a small part the ribbon idea. In reality, cancer ribbons come in many different colours with each colour of ribbon representing awareness for a different type of cancer.  Cancer ribbons started out as yellow ribbons and where used as symbols of awareness for the Vietnam War and, from there, cancer ribbons eventually evolved in to the representation of awareness that we know them as today.

After yellow ribbons where used, not for cancer but solely awareness, came the Ribbon Project, which used a red ribbon to promote AIDS awareness. Not to long after this came the use of cancer ribbons; but the pink cancer ribbons we have come to see everywhere today were not the original design meant for breast cancer. Breast cancer ribbons actually started out as a project by Charlotte Haley. Her ribbons where a peach colour as she handed them out with information cards about breast cancer. Not wanting to commercialize her efforts, she refused collaboration with “Self” magazine on her cancer ribbons. This is what led to the pink cancer ribbons for breast cancer today. “Self” magazine wanted to move forward with cancer ribbons for awareness so they opted to use a different colour for their breast cancer ribbons as pink.

From the use of pink cancer ribbons for breast cancer came a wide variety of different coloured ribbons. These different coloured cancer ribbons are explained below.

 Burgundy Cancer Ribbons: Multiple Myeloma

Dark Blue Cancer Ribbons: Colon Cancers

Gold Cancer Ribbons: Childhood Cancers

Gray Cancer Ribbons: Brain Cancer

Green Cancer Ribbons: Kidney Cancer

Jade Cancer Ribbons: Liver Cancer

Lime Green Cancer Ribbons: Lymphoma

Orange Cancer Ribbons: Leukemia

Periwinkle Cancer Ribbons: Stomach Cancer

Pearl Cancer Ribbons: Lung Cancer

Pink, Purple & Teal Cancer Ribbons: Thyroid Cancer

Purple Cancer Ribbons: Testicular Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer

Sky Blue Cancer Ribbons: Prostate Cancer

Teal Cancer Ribbons: Ovarian Cancer

Yellow Cancer Ribbons: Bladder Cancer

White Cancer Ribbons: Bone Cancer

From this list you can see that cancer ribbons come in all types of different colours, stretching outside the bounds of the rainbow. It does not stop there though. These ribbons have become so widely known for awareness that they have expanded more that just a ribbon. Images of cancer ribbons are now worn on t-shirts, jackets, and other apparel, and the rise of the Livestrong bracelet began the move from ribbons to rubber cancer bracelets and moving into jewlery. All the bracelets in the world won’t stop the use of cancer ribbons though; they are the original awareness representation and always will be.