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Cancer ribbon color meanings

Updated April 17, 2017

Coloured ribbons promote awareness for a variety of different illnesses and concerns. HIV and AIDS, domestic violence and support for our troops are just a few.The most well known is probably the colour pink, for breast cancer.

History of the Ribbon

Ribbons were first worn to represent the plight of soldiers in the 1955 French war with Vietnam and the Iran Hostage Crisis with the United States in 1979. Following this red ribbons were worn to support AIDS sufferers. Owing to their popularity, coloured ribbons have since been used to raise awareness for various types of cancer, beginning in 1991 with the pink ribbon for breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Ribbon

The pink ribbon became popular in the United States after Alexandra Penney, editor of "Self" magazine, started distributing ribbons with her magazine's Breast Cancer Awareness Month issue in October 1992. The colour pink was chosen to make the ribbon more commercially appealing.

Other Cancer Ribbons

A lavender ribbon is used for awareness of cancer in general. A grey ribbon is used for brain cancer, white for lung cancer, light blue for prostate cancer and purple for pancreatic cancer. Burgundy and white represent head and neck cancers, while yellow supports awareness of bone cancer.

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About the Author

Carrie Ann Wilcox began writing professionally in 2010. She has written for "UFO Matrix" magazine and worked as a freelance journalist for Beacon Radio. Wilcox holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, literary studies and journalism from the University of Worcester and a postgraduate diploma in broadcast journalism from Birmingham City University.