Skip to Content

What symbolizes thyroid cancer?

Thyroid cancer is one of the most common cancers diagnosed each year. Over 50,000 new cases are found annually in the United States alone. While generally very treatable, thyroid cancer can be a frightening diagnosis. Many thyroid cancer patients and survivors look for symbols and imagery that resonate with their experience.

The Thyroid Gland

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck. It produces hormones that regulate metabolism and calcium levels in the body. The thyroid is made up of two lobes, connected by a small piece of tissue called the isthmus. When functioning properly, the thyroid gland is not noticeable or felt by the patient.

Thyroid cancer begins when healthy cells in the thyroid undergo mutations causing them to grow and multiply uncontrollably, forming a tumor. The most common types of thyroid cancer start in the follicular cells or parafollicular cells of the thyroid gland. The shape of the thyroid gland itself is thought to resemble a butterfly, which has become one of the symbols most associated with thyroid cancer.

Butterfly Imagery

The thyroid’s butterfly shape makes comparing it to a butterfly very fitting. Butterflies are one of the most commonly used symbols for thyroid cancer awareness. Their metamorphosis from caterpillar to winged insect mirrors the thyroid cancer journey from diagnosis to survivorship.

Butterfly imagery represents hope, change, and life. Just as a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly, thyroid cancer patients undergo a transformative experience. The butterfly emerging from its cocoon is symbolic of the self-discovery and growth many thyroid cancer survivors experience.

Brightly colored butterfly pins and images are used to promote thyroid cancer awareness. This vivid butterfly imagery empowers patients and makes the connection between the disease and the thyroid gland’s shape. Some thyroid cancer survivors even get butterfly tattoos to commemorate their journey.

Hope and Beauty

Butterflies are very symbolic creatures, representing hope, change, and beauty. For thyroid cancer survivors, they epitomize the transformative power of the human spirit. Butterflies are often used in cancer awareness imagery because of their layered symbolism.

The metamorphosis a caterpillar undergoes, blossoming into a butterfly, mirrors the thyroid cancer patient’s journey. The caterpillar’s struggle out of its cocoon represents the challenges patients face. Finally emerging as a butterfly is like the experience of surviving cancer.

The butterfly’s vivid wings are symbols of the beauty and light thyroid cancer survivors can find through their experience. The grace and freedom represented by a butterfly in flight inspires optimism.

Thyroid Cancer Journey

The thyroid cancer journey begins at diagnosis and treatment. Patients often feel scared and overwhelmed at first. But over time, many discover inner strength and a new perspective on life.

While cancer is never an easy experience, thyroid cancer has high survival rates. With proper treatment, over 98% of thyroid cancer patients live for at least 5 years after diagnosis. Many thrive for years beyond that milestone.

The transformative power of the cancer journey is commonly symbolized by the butterfly. Patients feel they emerge renewed, changed, and ready to embrace life. The positive changes experienced bring hope for the future.

Color Symbolism

Certain colors are also commonly associated with thyroid cancer awareness:

  • Teal – Thyroid cancer awareness ribbons and logos are often teal colored. Teal represents open communication and insight.
  • Pink – Since thyroid cancer affects more women than men, pink is sometimes used representing femininity, hope, and survivorship.
  • Blue – The color of the sky and sea, blue reminds us of the calm after the storm.
  • Purple – Traditionally associated with royalty and wisdom, purple embodies honor, survival, and courage.

These meaningful colors adorn t-shirts, pins, bracelets, and other thyroid cancer awareness items. Patients and survivors wear them proudly to share their journey and honor others affected by thyroid cancer.

The Thyroid Cancer Ribbon

The most recognizable symbol used to promote thyroid cancer awareness is the teal ribbon. The thyroid cancer ribbon is teal or multi-colored combining teal, pink, blue and/or purple. Wearing the ribbon shows support for thyroid cancer patients, survivors, and loved ones.

The meaning behind the thyroid cancer ribbon colors:

  • Teal – Represents thyroid cancer and its connection to the thyroid gland.
  • Pink – Honors the survived journey and embodies hope.
  • Blue – Calmness, wisdom, faith.
  • Purple – Courage, honor, survival.

Thyroid cancer survivors often wear teal or multicolored ribbons pinned to their shirt or printed on accessories. This promotes awareness and solidarity on their cancer journey.


Wristbands inscribed with “Thyroid Cancer Awareness” or “Thyroid Cancer Survivor” are worn to raise awareness. Bright teal, pink, blue and purple wristbands remind wearers and observers of the cause.

Silicone wristbands can be customized with meaningful phrases that inspire and empower thyroid cancer patients. These simple bands serve as a constant visible reminder for survivors to embrace life.


Some thyroid cancer survivors and supporters memorialize their journey through tattoos. Butterfly images are common, representing transformation and new life. Ribbon tattoos are also popular thyroid cancer designs.

Semi-colon tattoos indicating “the story goes on” resonate with survivors beginning new chapters. Phrases like “No Fear” and inspirational words speak to the wearer’s strength and optimism.

Tattoos allow survivors to literally wear their transformative journey on their sleeve. Visible symbols permanently marked on the body can inspire hope and connections with others.


Jewelry is another way to display thyroid cancer awareness. Teal gemstones, such as aquamarine, represent thyroid cancer. Silvers necklaces and charms feature butterflies, ribbons, and inspirational phrases.

Jewelry provides an elegant way to symbolize surviving thyroid cancer. Pieces containing colorful gems or charms spark conversation about the meaning behind them.


Awareness t-shirts, hats, and other apparel printed with the teal ribbon logo get attention. They often include phrases like “Thyroid Cancer Awareness”, “Thyroid Cancer Survivor”, or “Fight Like a Girl.”

Caps and visors allow thyroid cancer patients to bring awareness to their journey while protecting their scalp during radiation treatments. Bold graphics and inspirational messages on apparel broadcast what the wearer has overcome.


Butterflies and their metamorphosis resonate most symbolically with thyroid cancer patients and survivors. Their transformation mirrors the transformative experience of being diagnosed with cancer and emerging renewed.

Colors like teal, blue, pink, and purple represent thyroid cancer in ribbons and logos. They adorn apparel, jewelry, tattoos, and other merchandise used to promote awareness.

Thyroid cancer survivors proudly wear and display symbols of their journey. The symbols provide connection, remind them of their strength, and raise awareness.

Through bracelets, necklaces, tattoos, clothing, and other items thyroid cancer survivors inspire others with their stories. Their visible symbols mark the profound transformation they underwent and empower them as they embrace life moving forward.

Color Meaning
Teal Thyroid cancer, thyroid gland, communication, insight
Pink Femininity, hope, survivorship
Blue Calm, wisdom, faith
Purple Royalty, courage, honor, survival