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What colors are the cancer ribbons?

Cancer ribbons are colored ribbons that are worn to show support for a particular type of cancer. The different colors represent different types of cancer and help raise awareness for each cause. Cancer ribbons first started being used in the 1970s and have become a widely recognized symbol of cancer awareness and solidarity.

History of Cancer Ribbons

The first cancer ribbon was created in the 1970s for breast cancer awareness. It was a peach colored ribbon handed out by the Susan G. Komen Foundation at races for breast cancer research. In the early 1990s, pink ribbons started being used instead for breast cancer awareness. The pink ribbon was first promoted by the Susan G. Komen Foundation and Self Magazine. It quickly became popular and is now the most commonly recognized cancer ribbon color.

After the success of the pink breast cancer ribbon, other cancer awareness ribbon colors started being used. In the early 1990s, several more colors were introduced, including white for lung cancer, gray for brain cancer, and blue for prostate cancer. Use of colored ribbons expanded greatly in the 1990s and early 2000s. Now there are over 50 colored ribbons representing different cancer causes.

Most Common Cancer Ribbon Colors

Here are some of the most common cancer ribbon colors and what they represent:

Color Cancer Type
Pink Breast cancer
Dark blue Colon cancer
Orange Leukemia
Purple Pancreatic cancer
Teal Ovarian cancer
Pink and blue Inflammatory breast cancer

Full List of Cancer Ribbon Colors

Here is a more comprehensive list of cancer ribbon colors and the specific types of cancer they represent:

Color Cancer Type
Apricot Esophageal cancer
Aqua Cervical cancer
Black Melanoma
Blue Prostate cancer
Burgundy Head and neck cancer
Coral Testicular cancer
Dark blue Colon cancer
Dark pink Thyroid cancer
Emerald green Liver cancer
Gold Childhood cancer
Gray Brain cancer
Green Lymphoma
Jade Liver cancer
Kelly green Kidney cancer
Lavender General cancer
Light blue Prostate cancer
Lime green Lymphoma
Marigold/Yellow Bladder cancer
Mauve Adenocarcinoma
Navy blue Colon cancer
Orange Leukemia
Orchid Testicular cancer
Peach Uterine cancer
Pearl Lung cancer
Periwinkle Lung cancer (all types)
Pink Breast cancer
Pink and blue Inflammatory breast cancer
Plum All cancers
Red Lymphoma
Teal Ovarian cancer
White Lung cancer
Yellow Sarcoma

Combination and Multicolored Ribbons

Some cancer ribbons combine two colors to represent one type of cancer. Here are some examples:

  • Pink and teal – Ovarian cancer
  • Pink and blue – Inflammatory breast cancer
  • Lime green and purple – Pancreatic cancer
  • Turquoise and yellow – Gallbladder cancer

There are also multi-colored ribbons that represent all cancers or cancer in general. These include:

  • Rainbow – All cancers
  • Lavender – Cancer in general
  • Plum – All cancers

Wearing and Displaying Cancer Ribbons

Cancer ribbons are commonly worn or displayed to show support for cancer patients and research. They can be displayed or worn in various ways:

  • Pins and magnets on clothes, hats, bags
  • Bracelets
  • Necklaces and lanyards
  • Keychains
  • Stickers on cars, water bottles, etc.
  • Temporary rub-on tattoos
  • Ribbons on doors, mailboxes, etc.
  • Printed ribbons for events and campaigns

Wearing a cancer ribbon is a great way to start a conversation and raise awareness about a cancer cause you care about. DISPLAYING ribbons shows solidarity and support for cancer patients and makes the cause more visible.

Cancer Ribbon Meanings

Beyond just representing a cancer type, cancer ribbon colors also have symbolic meanings and associations.

  • Pink – Femininity, women, breast cancer
  • Red – Strength, courage, energy
  • Orange – Brightness, creativity
  • Yellow – Hope, sunshine
  • Green – Nature, renewal
  • Blue – Calm, masculinity
  • Purple – Spirit, religion
  • Teal – Femininity, soothing
  • White – Purity, innocence

These color meanings give each cancer ribbon a deeper significance beyond just cancer type. The colors themselves represent qualities and values meaningful to cancer patients and those supporting the cause.

Popular Uses of Cancer Ribbons

Cancer ribbons are used in many awareness-raising activities and campaigns. Some popular uses and events include:

  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October) – pink ribbons
  • World Cancer Day (February 4) – various colors
  • Product packaging – pink breast cancer ribbons on cosmetics, skin care, etc.
  • Charity runs/walks – participants wear colored ribbons
  • Sports uniforms – colored ribbons painted/printed for cancer awareness games
  • Advertisements and public health campaigns
  • Workplaces allowing employees to wear ribbons
  • Memorial ribbons – worn in memory of lost loved ones

Cancer ribbons help unite communities to raise awareness and show compassion for those impacted by cancer.

Other Color Ribbon Causes

Colored ribbons are now used to promote many other causes besides cancer:

Color Cause
Silver or gray Diabetes
Purple Alzheimer’s
Teal and purple Sexual assault
Black and white Mourning
Blue and green Mental health

However, cancer ribbons remain among the most widely recognized and used colored ribbon symbols.

Creating Your Own Cancer Ribbons

It’s easy to make your own cancer ribbon to raise awareness or honor a loved one. Here are some simple ways to make one:

  • Cut ribbon in the color of your choice (buy from a craft store)
  • Fold the ribbon lengthwise and cut into a ribbon shape
  • Adhere a safety pin or clip to the back to wear it
  • For printed ribbons, use a template and print onto ribbon sheets using a color printer
  • Draw ribbons using colored pencils, markers, crayons or paints

Get creative with materials like fabric, beads, glitter, sequins, etc. Display homemade ribbons on clothes, bags, doors, etc. Making them yourself gives ribbons an extra personal touch.


Cancer ribbons are an internationally recognized symbol of cancer awareness and solidarity. The color-coded ribbons allow people to visibly show support for different cancer types. Breast cancer pink ribbons were the first, but today there are over 50 colors representing cancers ranging from lung to liver to leukemia.

Ribbons are worn at awareness events, displayed on memorabilia, and incorporated into advertisements and campaigns. They help unite communities around cancer causes and give patients and families hope. Whether purchasing ready-made ribbons or crafting your own, wearing or displaying a cancer ribbon is a meaningful show of compassion.