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Cancer Awareness Months and Their Colors

The first widespread use of awareness ribbons came in 1979, during the American embassy hostage crisis in Iran. After a woman named Penny Laingen, inspired by songs like the 1973 “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree,” tied yellow ribbons around the trees in her yard to call for her husband’s safe return, yellow ribbons started appearing across the country in solidarity.

A decade later, the yellow ribbons appeared again in support of soldiers fighting the Gulf War. AIDS activists soon followed suit with a red ribbon, which made its national debut in 1991, when actor Jeremy Irons wore one to the Tony awards. Months later, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation began handing out pink ribbons to participants in its Race for the Cure, and in 1992, the charity collaborated with Self magazine and Estée Lauder to promote the pink ribbon nationwide, and the first of the cancer awareness ribbons was born.

After the high-profile launch of the pink ribbon, other nationally-recognized cancer support charities began to choose cancer ribbon colors. Today, people wear these ribbons to raise awareness, encourage preventative testing, and show support for loved ones with cancer.

Some of the most prominent cancer awareness month colors follow, along with links to information on more ways to support loved ones facing a cancer diagnosis:

Comprehensive Guide for Cancer Awareness Months and Colors

January

February

  • Gallbladder and Bile Duct Cancer Awareness Month: Kelly Green

March

April

  • Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month: Periwinkle
  • Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month: Burgundy/Ivory
  • Testicular Cancer Awareness Month: Orchid

May

  • Bladder Cancer Awareness Month: Marigold/Blue/Purple
  • Brain Cancer Awareness Month: Grey
  • Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month: Black

July

  • Sarcoma Awareness Week: Yellow

September

  • Childhood Cancer Awareness Month: Gold
  • Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month: Peach
  • Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Awareness Month: Violet
  • Leukemia Awareness Month: Orange
  • Lymphoma Awareness Month: Lime Green
  • Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month: Teal
  • Prostate Cancer Awareness Month: Light Blue
  • Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month: Teal/Pink/Blue

October

  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Pink
  • Liver Cancer Awareness Month: Emerald Green

November

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