Cancer Ribbon Colors

We all know about awareness ribbons. Who hasn't seen someone wearing a bracelet adorned with pink ribbons or a yellow ribbon tied around a tree? Yes, everyone has seen the ribbons - but not everyone knows exactly what they are, what they represent, and where they came from. 

 

When we think of cancer ribbons, often the first thing that comes to mind is a pink ribbon for breast cancer. But there are dozens of different ribbon colors representing each type of cancer. Breast cancer organizations have done a great job of promoting pink ribbons, but there are more common cancers that have their own ribbon colors that deserve recognition as well. The three most common types of cancer are skin cancer (or melanoma), lung cancer and prostate cancer (in that order). Skin cancer is represented by a black ribbon, lung cancer by a white ribbon and prostate cancer is light blue. 

 

The first documentation of symbolic ribbons comes from medieval times. Knights were often awarded yellow ribbons for winning battles; this may have helped to form the connection between yellow ribbons and the military that still exists today. Although awareness ribbons are very prominent in our world today, they were not popularized until the last 30 years of the 1900s. The trend can largely be attributed to the 1973 country song “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree,” in which a man who has been imprisoned asks his loved one to tie a yellow ribbon around the tree in front of their home if she wants him to return home. After the release of the song, Penney Laingen, the wife of a man being held hostage in Iran, tied yellow ribbons around trees to illustrate her desire for her husband to return home, and her neighbors, family, and friends soon followed suit. In 1991, the release of the red ribbon for AIDs awareness officially planted the idea of awareness ribbons in our society, and 1992 was deemed “The Year of the Ribbon” by The New York Times.

 

Today, the looped ribbons which can be found in a rainbow of colors and patterns are intended to raise awareness for various causes (which is why they are called awareness ribbons), and the color of the ribbon denotes the cause it symbolizes. Simple enough, right? Of course, it does get a little more complicated. Most people believe that each ribbon color represents only one cause, However, in reality, a single colored ribbon can represent multiple causes; for instance, purple ribbons can represent about 19 different things. To make things more tangled, two different ribbons can actually represent the same cause. For example, as you will see in the graphic below, both purple and lavender represent all cancers and cancer survivors.

 

So how do you know what each ribbon symbolizes? To alleviate confusion, we have created an infographic of the ribbon colors that are generally used to represent various types of cancer. Look through the list below, and make sure to check out the awesome selection of cancer awareness gifts as well as hats and scarves for cancer patients on our site. For quick reference, below our infographic, we’ve also included a handy alphabetical listing of all types of cancer and the ribbons that correspond.

 


 

Cancer Awareness Ribbon Colors

Alphabetical Chart - Here’s a quick chart of the various types of cancer (in alphabetical order) for quick reference:

 

All Cancers - Purple Ribbon

All Cancer Survivors - Purple Ribon

Appendix Cancer - Amber Ribbon

Brain Cancer - Grey Ribbon

Breast Cancer - Pink Ribbon

Bone Cancer - Yellow Ribbon

Bladder Cancer - Blue, Purple & Marigold

Carcinoid Cancer - Zebra Ribbon

Childhood Cancer - Gold Ribbon

Colon & Colorectal Cancer - Dark Blue

Endometrial Cancer -  Peach Ribbon

Esophageal Cancer - Periwinkle

Head & Neck Cancer - Burgundy & Cream

Hodgkins Lymphoma - Violet Ribbon

Kidney (Renal) Cancer - Orange Ribbon

Leiomyosarcoma - Purple Ribbon

Leukemia - Orange Ribbon

Liver Cancer - Emerald Green Ribbon

Lung Cancer - White Ribbon

Lymphoma - Lime Green Ribbon

Multiple Myeloma - Burgundy Ribbon

Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma - Lime Green Ribbon 

Ovarian Cancer - Teal Ribbon

Pancreatic Cancer - Purple Ribbon

Prostate Cancer - Light Blue

Skin Cancer (Melanoma) - Black Ribbon

Stomach Cancer - Periwinkle

Testicular Cancer - Orchid Ribbon

Thyroid Cancer - Blue, Teal & Pink Ribbon

Uterine Cancer - Peach Ribbon


 



Additional Resources

Quotes for Cancer Patients

Wigs for Cancer Patients

Hats for Cancer Patients

Chemo & Hair Loss

"What Cancer Cannot Do"


 



Comments, Questions & Ratings

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Lymphoma Review by Cancer Ribbon Colors | Cancer Awareness Ribbons
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My wife died of non-hodgkins lymphoma. So now I know what color to where to memorize her. (Posted on 10/19/2017)

Thank you Review by Cancer Ribbon Colors | Cancer Awareness Ribbons
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Thank you so much I was trying to figure out what color to dye my hair because some of my friends have died of cancer and I was trying to discover which colors(Posted on 07/01/2017)

Bone Cancer Review by Cancer Ribbon Colors | Cancer Awareness Ribbons
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I'm working on a lap quilt for a dear friend who is battling bone cancer. I plan to incorporate yellow ribbons now. Thanks for this resource recognizing awareness for ALL types of cancer.(Posted on 10/20/2016)

Melanoma Review by Cancer Ribbon Colors | Cancer Awareness Ribbons
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I was looking for the correct color to represent skin cancer. Very informative.(Posted on 10/08/2016)

Thank you! Review by Cancer Ribbon Colors | Cancer Awareness Ribbons
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I am so glad this article covers something other than breast cancer ribbons. My friend is battling lung cancer and I have been looking for a way to support her. It's good to know that white is the color to wear.(Posted on 09/12/2016)

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