Cancer Covered Blog

Origin of the Ribbon

The ribbon is a symbol of awareness and support.  It was originally used in the early mid-1900s in a United States military marching song.  The song “Tie a Yellow Ribbon”, inspired the wife of a hostage held in Iran from 1979-1981 to use the yellow ribbon to show support for hostages and to remind others of their service to their country.  Later, during the Gulf War, the symbol evolved into a reminder of all men and women serving the country abroad.

A decade later, AIDS activists turned the yellow ribbon red.  From then on every charitable health cause had one.  It became so popular that the New York Times called 1992 “The Year of the Ribbon.”  The meaning behind the ribbon depends on its color or colors.   Many causes often share each color.

Ribbon colors representing cancer:

Clear, Pearl or White : Lung     

Blue :  Mouth

Orange : Leukemia 

Yellow : Bone      

Lime  : Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma  

Purple : Testicular

Periwinkle : Stomach and Esophageal      

Pink and Blue : Male Breast

Gray : Brain   

Black : Melanoma  

Pink : Breast    

Green : Kidney    

Teal : Ovarian         

Teal and White : Cervical    

Green Bay Oncology

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