While the pink ribbon is a well-recognized symbol of breast cancer awareness and support, many different awareness ribbons, representing many different types of cancers, exist. You might be surprised to learn that more than 50 ribbons represent different cancers and their survivors and caregivers today.
But where did it all start? Awareness ribbons initially sprang from a 1970s tune, “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree,” which inspired the wife of a hostage in Iran to tie yellow ribbons around trees in an effort to heighten awareness and bring her husband home. In the 1990s, AIDS activists brought the red ribbon to life. Since the 1990s, ribbons have decorated the chests and homes of many cancer patients, families, and friends as an outward show of support and compassion.
In addition to pink for breast cancer, a rainbow of ribbons mark months of awareness and action for other types of cancers. According to the National Cancer Institute, there are over 100 types and subtypes of cancer. Some subtypes of cancer even have their own awareness months and ribbons. Several common types of cancers and their awareness months and ribbon colors are listed below.*
*Not an exhaustive list of all cancer types and subtypes
Ribbons can be combined to represent multiple cancers, and lavender is sometimes used to recognize cancer as a whole. They can be worn anytime to send love to someone in need, share your commitment with others, and inspire action for awareness and treatment.
In a world where cancer affects so many lives, the diverse colors of awareness ribbons unite us in a shared pursuit: to raise awareness, promote early detection, and support the patients and survivors in our lives. Together, we stand as a powerful force, offering hope and compassion to all those impacted by cancer of any kind.
Read more about the history and meaning of the breast cancer pink ribbon.
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