Breast Cancer Awareness in Pink

In October, breast cancer awareness activities are everywhere, from fundraising walks to pink-themed events. Across the country, people celebrate survivors and raise money for research into the second-leading cause of death among women.

Amid the kaleidoscope of colors meant to stoke awareness, one color reigns supreme: pink. But what color do you wear to show your support?


Pink has long been a color of femininity, but it also symbolizes the courage and strength of women fighting against breast cancer. It’s a color of hope, solidarity, and resilience against this disease, and is an international symbol of awareness and support for survivors.

During the month of October, many people wear pink for Breast cancer awareness shirt they also participate in breast cancer awareness activities to honor those who have been affected by the disease. Pink is the national color of breast cancer awareness, and is used by organizations to promote awareness, encourage early detection, and raise funds for research.

Pink ribbons are often seen in stores, schools, and workplaces to show support for those battling breast cancer. They can be worn alone or with other ribbon colors to represent specific types of cancer, such as the purple ribbon for esophageal cancer and a black-and-white zebra print for ovarian cancer.

While some breast cancer survivors are offended by what’s known as “pinkwashing” — when companies plaster their products with pink ribbons in order to drive sales, and only give a small percentage of the proceeds to breast cancer research or other health-related causes — many others welcome these initiatives. These efforts are often effective in raising awareness and driving donations for a worthy cause.

If the color pink triggers negative memories or emotions for you, be mindful of how it makes you feel and find ways to cope. It may help to practice radical self-care, which can include practicing meditation and yoga or spending time with friends in a calming environment. Also, be clear about what your needs are given your personality, circumstances and relationship with cancer, and communicate them to the people in your life.


Whether you're wearing a pink ribbon, organizing an event, or simply supporting survivors and victims of breast cancer in any way during October, you're showing your support for this important cause. Breast Cancer Awareness Month serves as a reminder to prioritize regular screening with a mammogram and fund research that brings us closer to a cure.

Although the pink ribbon is one of the most internationally recognized breast cancer awareness symbols, it's far from the only color associated with this cause. Many different cancer ribbons exist to draw attention to specific types of cancer, from teal for ovarian cancer to yellow for pancreatic cancer. In addition, there are some diseases that have no corresponding color ribbon, such as neuroendocrine tumors like carcinoid cancer.

The color purple has a long history of association with royalty and social change. It was prominent in the coronation portrait of King George VI, and it was also a symbol of the Women's Suffrage movement in the early 1900s and Feminism in the 1970s. The color also symbolizes spirituality and spiritual transcendence in some cultures, which makes it appropriate for a month dedicated to finding a cure.

Pink is the most common color for Breast Cancer Awareness, but don't be afraid to wear other colors throughout the year to help raise awareness. And don't forget to support survivors and loved ones of all ages by encouraging regular screenings with a mammogram. This is especially important for women over 40, who have a greater chance of developing the disease. 


The pink ribbon – the symbol that is most closely associated with breast cancer awareness – has become synonymous with the disease, thanks to the work of countless activists. Breast cancer survivors and advocates host events to raise money for research, celebrate survivors, and encourage self-exams and screenings. A sea of pink can be seen at charity walks and races around the world, and a wide range of clothing and accessories are decorated with the ribbon. Some companies donate all or a large portion of the proceeds from their ribbon-adorned items to charity, while others commit nominal amounts.

The cancer ribbon color spectrum has branched out beyond pink, though. Some of the more obscure cancers have their own colored ribbons: lime green represents non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and violet or leukemia are represented by yellow or purple. Orange is used for kidney cancer and lymphoma, and pancreatic cancer has its own special shade of purple: Pamela Acosta Marquardt founded the organization PanCan after her mother died from pancreatic cancer. Her mom’s favorite color was purple, and she inspired the shade to represent that type of cancer.

However, some breast cancer advocates are upset at the kaleidoscope of colors that have been used to represent different types of cancer, and fear that the proliferation of different awareness ribbons can further muddy the waters and detract from fundraising efforts for specific diseases. Advocates for metastatic breast cancer, for example, use a green and teal ribbon designed by the METAvivor nonprofit to represent that stage of the disease. That ribbon’s base is green, representing spring over winter and life over death; the teal symbolizes healing and spirituality; and a thin pink-ribbon overlay signifies that the cancer originated in the breast.


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness about the disease, remind people of the importance of regular screenings, and encourage people to support those who are fighting it. In addition to wearing pink, many people take part in fundraising activities, like charity runs and walks, and donate to support research that brings us closer to a world without breast cancer.

Pink may be the most recognized ribbon color, but it’s far from the only one. In fact, there are dozens of different cancer ribbons, each with its own hue and associated month. The most common are the pink ones worn for breast cancer, but there are also those for ovarian cancer, uterine fibroids, and pancreatic cancer.

A teal ribbon is worn to support those with hereditary gynecologic cancers, including hereditary ovarian cancer and ovarian hyperplasia. These conditions are often misdiagnosed or unrecognized because symptoms can be similar to other health issues. However, with early detection, a teal ribbon can help to ensure a timely diagnosis and treatment.

Unlike the bright pink used to symbolize breast cancer, teal is more muted and soft. This makes it more suitable for women who might not want to wear a visible reminder of the disease. It can be worn alone or in combination with other cancer ribbons.

In addition to being worn to show support for those affected by hereditary gynecologic conditions, teal can be used to highlight the unique challenges facing black women with hereditary ovarian cancer. Research shows that black women are 40% more likely to die from the disease than white women. One way to help reduce this disparity is by raising awareness of the need for more research into ovarian cancer in black women, which can be done with a teal ribbon.


In a kaleidoscope of colors meant to stoke cancer awareness, one hue rules. Pink, the internationally recognized symbol for breast cancer, reigns supreme in October as millions of people participate in breast cancer walks, runs and races, or donate to the cause.

The ribbon that represents the most common and most deadly form of women’s cancer carries a deeper meaning than just a color. It represents health, femininity, life and hope. The ribbon is a reminder to prioritize regular screenings and self-exams, and it calls out for more funding to further research.

It's not just about pink

The color of the ribbon doesn’t necessarily represent a specific type of cancer, but rather, its general campaign goals. In fact, many organizations have their own trademarked ribbons to represent particular diseases, such as a green ribbon that promotes endometrial and gynecological cancers or a black-and-white zebra ribbon for rare forms of cancer.

Despite the variety of ribbons, pink remains by far the most prominent. The pink ribbon is often worn throughout the year to honor survivors and remember those lost to the disease, but it’s especially visible during October when breast cancer awareness efforts reach their peak.

You don’t have to wear a ribbon or hold a fundraiser to make a difference in the fight against cancer. You can support the cause by donating time or money to verified cancer charities and sharing your personal story of how you or someone you know has been affected. And, most importantly, you can show your support by prioritizing regular screenings and supporting the research that will get us closer to a future without cancer. That’s something worth celebrating.

In October, breast cancer awareness activities are everywhere, from fundraising walks to pink-themed events. Across the country, people celebrate survivors and raise money for research into the second-leading cause of death among women. Amid the kaleidoscope of colors meant to stoke awareness, one color reigns supreme: pink. But what color do you wear to show…