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Understanding the Colors of Cancer Awareness Ribbons

cancer awareness colors

Ribbons have been one of the accessories to add elegance and beautify any couture. But in modern times, its meaning has evolved from being an embellishment to the symbol of expression, unity and solidarity. One of the prominent means of awareness is cancer awareness ribbons. They have been adorned as ultimate staples to showcase solidarity with affected ones and voice for their well-being. Their functionality of becoming awareness markers wasn’t something that happened in a flash, it too weaves a rich story.


Let’s extensively unfold the rich history and discover types of ribbons and cancer awareness colors.

Cancer Awareness Ribbons: Colors of Awareness And Advocacy Decoded 

Ribbons have been regarded as a bare minimum advocacy effort and measures against eliminating all hardships and social issues. Cancer is one of the major challenges faced by humanity and still affects a large number of people. In modern times, it began to be used as a tool to channel a movement and drive towards eradication of cancer. Ever wondered how it all began and what metamorphosis it met? Let’s explore the rich history and the significance throughout the years of these cancer awareness ribbons 


Origin & Historical Significance:  

It is reported that the origins of this frill differ from what it is known today. Among the speculations, the closest one is that the idea of ribbons to be used as catalysts for cause emerged during an incident of the 70s, in which Iran had held many US hostages and the wife of one of the hostages, decided to work on the mobilization of return of the hostages. They adopted a yellow ribbon as one of their measures, inspired by the pop song of that time, “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree,” which symbolized “second chance” and “reconciliation. Then in the 1990s, as the epidemic of breast cancer surged, a woman named, Charlotte Haley,  took the initiative of spreading awareness regarding the plight of cancer patients and their well-being. This then paved for these trims to get a mainstream spotlight by being critiqued in Self magazine. During this, pink color was chosen, as an attribute of femininity, compassion and care, these showed proximity to this infliction. 


These two major happenings sparked a wave of colored ribbons to denote the cause.


colors of cancer awareness


Most Common Cancer Awareness Ribbons & Their Meanings

People wear cancer awareness ribbons around their necks. Custom medals provide neck ribbons in all colors. There is an array of cancer awareness ribbon colors, many of which have emerged in modern times, besides pink, emerging as a breast cancer awareness color. Here are some of the notable ones over the course:


Red Ribbons

These ribbons have served as “blood-cancer awareness colored ribbons.” Red ribbons symbolize compassion and support for those suffering from blood-related diseases. Additionally, they represent other deadly diseases such as HIV/AIDS and cardiovascular diseases, highlighting the critical need for awareness and research.


Gold Ribbons: 

Gold represents childhood cancer, an alternative to yellow. Many people wear gold to support children and adolescents affected by cancer. Wearing a gold ribbon is special because it symbolizes all types of childhood cancer. It’s important to know that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.


Blue Ribbons:

These ribbons have evolved to symbolize colorectal cancer awareness. Initially, blue ribbons were used to hint at child abuse awareness, but in the modern era, they represent colon cancer. On the other hand, Light blue ribbons specifically demonstrate awareness of prostate cancer. Additionally, other shades of blue are used to advocate for several other diseases, showcasing the versatility of this color in raising awareness for various health issues.


Orange Ribbons:

Orange ribbons show support for people with leukemia and spinal cancer. They are used to raise awareness and support for individuals affected by these specific types of cancer, emphasizing the need for research and support for these conditions.


Lavender Ribbons: 

A lavender ribbon shows support for people facing any type of cancer. Some wear a ribbon with many colors or a rainbow of ribbons to show the same support.


Yellow Ribbons

Yellow ribbons demonstrate and voice support for those affected by gallbladder cancer and liver cancer. They serve as powerful symbols of awareness for these specific cancers, helping to rally support and funding for research and treatment.


Green Ribbons

Green ribbons are usually perceived as a color of mental illness awareness, but in recent years, they have also been used to advocate for other chronic diseases like kidney cancer, cerebral palsy, and adrenal cancer. Other shades of green, such as lime green, serve as the awareness color for lymphoma cancer, highlighting the broad scope of health issues represented by this color.

Black Ribbons:

Besides serving as a fashion flair, black ribbons symbolize melanoma cancer awareness. Additionally, they represent the plight of skin cancer, bringing attention to the importance of early detection and prevention for these types of cancer.


White Ribbons: 

The white ribbon joins the ranks of cancer awareness colors, now signifying both bone cancer and lung cancer awareness. However, its symbolism has a deeper history. Initially, the white ribbon served as a symbol of peace and remembrance for war martyrs. Speculations suggest this usage emerged during the horrors of the Holocaust. In the 20th century and into the present era, the white ribbon has evolved to become a powerful tool for rallying support and advocating for those affected by bone and lung cancer.


Grey Ribbons:

Represents Brain Cancer. This type of cancer is very difficult to treat. Brain cancer has 4 stages. Stages 1 and 2 have tumors that are not yet cancerous. In stages 3 and 4, the tumors grow quickly and become cancerous, making treatment more difficult.


Ribbon Lapel Pins: Symbolizing Support and Awareness

Ribbon lapel pins are more than just fashion—they are strong symbols of support and advocacy. Each color represents a different type of cancer. These pins allow people to show their support and raise awareness in a quiet but powerful way. Whether worn at events, in daily life, or given to loved ones, each pin shows a commitment to standing with those affected by cancer. By wearing these pins, people not only show hope but also help spread awareness and support cancer research.


In essence, these ribbons come in a vast array of colors, each representing a different type of cancer awareness. This variety serves as a tangible way to showcase advocacy and support for those affected. These ribbons not only raise awareness but also help build rapport and foster empathy for their ordeal. For a wide range of awareness products, including ribbon lapel pins, neck ribbons, medals, and more, explore our offerings at Custom Medals.