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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 Bl

Skin Cancer (Melanoma) - Black Ribbon

Stomach Cancer - Periwinkle

Testicular Cancer - Orchid Ribbon

Thyroid Cancer - Blue, Teal & Pink Ribbon

Uterine Cancer - Peach Ribbon


Additional Resources

What to Do for Someone with Cancer

What to Say to Someone with Cancer

How to Throw a Hat Party

How to Make a Chemo Care Package

Cancer Survivors Share Their Best Advice

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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Mr Review by Cancer Ribbon Colors
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Hii My wife is under going treatment for bowel cancer. Can you tell what the colour the ribbon is please. (Posted on 07/31/2019)


Hi Neil. The color for bowel cancer is dark blue. Best wishes to your wife with her treatments - we hope that all goes well! (08/19/2019)
Mrs Review by Cancer Ribbon Colors
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Thanks so much for the info. I’m receiving radiation therapy for breast cancer and when this is done I’ll find out my treatment for lung cancer. I never knew there was a specific ribbon for lung cancer. Nice to know we are represented. (Posted on 04/03/2019)

LOTS O HELP Review by Cancer Ribbon Colors
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thank you guys so so too much for taking time to clarify the different colors and what they stand for because my friend was just recently diagnosed with cancer and I didn't know what kind it was and she was wearing a green ribbon so this clarified SO SO SO SO SO much (Posted on 03/23/2019)

Great Site but...... Review by Cancer Ribbon Colors
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Found your site wonderful. I'm currently fighting Colon and Liver Cancer. Articles are great and a lot of inspiration. But it is a very women's centric site. I'm not saying it's bad. They are needed and I assume, maybe incorrectly, that this started as a site focusing on Breast Cancer (which is becoming more prevalent in the male community) therefore the female community. You do mention some of the cancers that only affect males which is great, but could be more detailed. What really disappointed me was the lack of merchandise for male, especially headwear. There was a total 5 items for male out of 380 and 2 were unisex. I was excited but the lack of male specific headwear was disappointing. Still love the site and will be visiting it for the articles and inspiration. Michael Cooke (Posted on 03/10/2019)


Hi Michael! Thank you so much for your fantastic feedback. We are currently working on adding more products for men and we would love to have a wider selection available. We are sorry that you were disappointed in the options available. Perhaps you were looking at our men's sleep cap page when you only saw 5 options; we do have many more options available on our men's hat page. We appreciate the suggestion on adding more articles for men. We have passed this on to our writing team. Look for more male friendly articles in the future! (04/17/2019)
Golden girls Review by Cancer Ribbon Colors
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Hi, thanks so much for this. My friend and I both overcame childhood cancer (I’m in recovery) and is good to know that we can wear good ribbons together xx (Posted on 02/06/2019)

Mrs Review by Cancer Ribbon Colors
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I was wondering what was the colour for Sarcoma Cancer? (Posted on 11/01/2018)


Thank you for your question! The color for sarcoma and bone cancer is yellow. (04/17/2019)
moooo Review by Cancer Ribbon Colors
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mno (Posted on 07/05/2018)

Awesome Review by Cancer Ribbon Colors
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This is so cool and helpful, thank you! (Posted on 05/15/2018)

Me Review by Cancer Ribbon Colors
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I was looking for skincanser, melanoma color, thanx. Was diagnosed and next monthe will be going for 2nd removal of such, but everything looks good so far. (Squamous cell carcinoma) Am I a cancer survivor as well now ? (Posted on 03/15/2018)

Spinal cord cancer Review by Cancer Ribbon Colors
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I didn't see one color ribbon for spinal cord cancer survivors I been going through spinal cord cancer ever since I was a baby and looking for my color ribbon (Posted on 02/15/2018)


The color for spinal cord cancer is green. (04/17/2019)
Survivor Review by Cancer Ribbon Colors
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I am a breast cancer survivor my mother passed away from Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2017 my breast cancer team t-shirts lime green with hot pink writing and pink shirts with lime green writing to honor my mother and breast cancer thank you for clarifying the ribbon colors (Posted on 01/11/2018)

Lymphoma Review by Cancer Ribbon Colors
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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