What do the different colored cancer ribbons mean?

The use of colored ties according to the type of cancer is customary to support patients. There is a tone for each variation of the disease.

Last update: November 28, 2021

Cancer colored ribbons show solidarity with those diagnosed, survivors, and their families. In 2020 this disease registered at least 1.4 million deaths, as estimated by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

According to the institution, in the 2 decades to come there will be a 60% increase in the burden of cancer in the world. Part of the fight to prevent and combat it focuses on campaigns inviting to know the symptoms and how to minimize the risks, point out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

What are the colored ribbons of cancer?

One way to create awareness is by using the colored ribbons. There is a shade for each type and the rare ones mix nuances.

Depending on the country, the tie dye may also vary. Some foundations dedicated to the fight against the disease define a particular tonality for their cause.

All cancers

The disease in general is symbolized with light purple. There are more than 200 types, refers the Spanish Association Against Cancer. The characteristics vary and therefore the treatments. The common factor is the uncontrolled multiplication of malignant cells in the body. Treatments are based on surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy.

Appendix cancer

Appendicular cancer is extremely rare. The UCR-HSJD Clinical School of Medicine journal states that most diagnoses arise after incidental appendectomy. It is identified by an amber ribbon and it can be suffered by both men and women, especially between 40 and 50 years of age.

Breast cancer

The pink ribbon stands out among the best-known cancer colored ribbons. Represents the fight against breast cancer. Foundations around the world dedicate full October to promoting prevention campaigns and charity events.

A list compiled by the National Cancer Institute (NIH) explains that breast cancer is the most common in the United States and the second most common among women. So far in 2021, the country has estimated 284,200 new cases.

As a forecast, they urge to perform a breast self-examination, especially if the person has a history or benign breast diseases.

The pink color of breast cancer is one of the most recognized signs worldwide.

Breast cancer in men

Pink and blue identify breast cancer developed in men. The Colombian journal of Radiology states that this variation is equivalent to 1% of all male cancers and is diagnosed later, because they seek care late in the absence of signs.


The orange tape distinguishes this pathology. The Mayo Clinic defines that this carcinoma occurs in the tissues of the blood, bone marrow and lymphatic system. Specifying the type depends on the kind of cell and the time it takes to grow. The month to raise awareness about leukemia is September.

Ovarian cancer

Institutions are looking for a cure against ovarian cancer, early detection and improvements in treatments. The medical journal Sinergia asserts that it is more lethal than breast. Its symbolic tie is turquoise. Although September is taken as awareness month, survivors and organizations celebrate May 8 as World Ovarian Cancer Day.

Cervical cancer

January is cervical cancer month, highlighted with a teal and white ribbon. It is the human papillomavirus (HPV) and its transmission that increases the danger.

Prostate cancer

In the United States, prostate cancer is the second most common among men. Its ribbon is light blue and November is the month of awareness.

The blue ribbon raises awareness about prostate cancer, which is a problem to consider in older men.

Testicular cancer

Cancer in the testicles is the most common among young men, says the Arturo López Pérez Foundation. However, the organization mentions that it is curable, even in advanced stages.

It is divided into seminoma and non-seminoma. Awareness is in April and the orchid ribbon.

Child cancer

The World Health Organization promotes the Global Initiative against Childhood Cancer, so that governments have technical assistance and maintain quality programs to care for children with cancer. The gold ribbon represents this condition..

Kidney cancer

One of the 10 most common cancers in men and women is kidney. The orange ribbon is an image of this pathology.

The initial symptoms are usually pain in the lower back and side, blood in the urine, and an abdominal mass. In addition to surgery, treatment includes chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation therapy.

Colon cancer

Although it can appear at any age, colon cancer mainly affects older adults. A Mayo Clinic publication states that it begins in small, benign groups of polyps that eventually transform into cancer cells. The ribbon that symbolizes it is blue.

Endometrial cancer

September is Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month. With peach ribbons, foundations like Mary Kay they promote the collection of money so that affected women receive treatment. Diagnoses are often made after menopause.

Brain cancer

Malignant brain tumors have a gray ribbon.

Liver cancer

The American Cancer Society indicates that symptoms of liver cancer manifest in its advanced stage. Covers hepatocellular carcinoma and bile duct cancer. An emerald green ribbon represents the affectation and the solidarity events are in October.

Hodgkin lymphoma

In September, patients diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma they usually wear a purple ribbon that alludes to this cancer of the lymphatic system. It is less common than non-Hodgkin.

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a blood-related cancer. It starts in lymphocytes and affects adults more often, according to the American Cancer Society. Among the colored ribbons of cancer, lime green is worn by patients and survivors of this variety.


On July 15 of each year, support for those facing leiomyosarcoma is promoted, collecting funds to find a cure. It is a soft tissue cancer: stomach, uterus, abdomen and small intestine. Purple is the backing tape.

Thyroid cancer

Pink, blue and teal are the colored ribbons of thyroid cancer. It is a common type and the main cause of death from endocrine tumors, a text in Reviews in Cancer states. Support events are held in June.

Lung cancer

Anyone can get lung cancer, but most at risk are smokers. The American Cancer Society points out that this tumor is the main cause of death among men and women with cancer symptoms. The ribbon that identifies it is white.

Pancreatic cancer

The color of alliances to face pancreatic cancer is purple. The Pancreatic Cancer Association points out that there are about 8,300 diagnoses a year in Spain. The annual number in Europe shoots up to 104,000 cases, while in the world there are an estimated 1,257 detections per day. In November they promote prevention campaigns.

Stomach cancer

Another way to call it is gastric cancer. It affects the cells present in the stomach lining.

Periwinkle blue is the shade that identifies the ribbons for awareness. Alerts in the first stage are blood in the stool and abdominal pain; however, they are not conclusive symptoms.

Head and neck cancer

The colors begoña and ivory distinguish the fight against cancer that arises in the head or neck. The Head and Neck Cancer Alliance encourages research, prevention and early detection.

Multiple myeloma

The International Myeloma Foundation conceptualizes it as a cancer in bone marrow cells. Little is said about this oncological class; hence, March is their awareness month and their signature a burgundy ribbon.

Skin cancer

Skin cancer is one of the most common in the United States. The American Academy of Dermatology notes that more than 2,000 volunteer dermatologists dedicate part of their time to free exams to detect melanoma and spread the symptoms. The symbol is a black ribbon and its awareness month is May.

Skin cancer is common. Sun exposure is one of the most recognized risk factors.


In July campaigns with yellow ties are disseminated to alert about bone cancer. Sarcoma can also damage muscles, cartilage, and deep connective tissues in the skin.

Why promote cancer colored ribbon campaigns?

Being one of the main causes of death in the world, cancer has cutting-edge and hopeful treatments as long as it is detected in time.

Hence the importance of expanding knowledge about the impact of the disease, its implications, the need to stop it and support those who fight. The symbolism of the ribbons is a way of identifying the type of cancer and expressing support.

It might interest you …