65+ Supportive Cancer Ribbon Tattoo Designs & Meanings – Not Just for Fun (2020)

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With the availability of many tattoo designs, cancer ribbon tattoos are among the most common. These tattoos are worn not just for fun, but they are mostly worn as a sign of support for a health condition.


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The ribbon symbol happens to be slightly controversial and sophisticated. It was introduced in the 19th century and it began when the women wore yellow ribbons as a sign of support and courage. The ribbons were a dedication to the husbands that served in the military.

The symbol was also recognized in popular songs and movies.

Cancer Ribbon Tattoo

Later on in the 20th century, the ribbon was more popular when a loved one was absent. This was worn in memory of the person that was in jail, in the military or if they were missing. If a person was missing, they would tie a yellow ribbon in their absence.

In 91, the survivors of the breast cancer that were in the Komen NYC race, received a pink ribbon. The Komen movement generally started the pink ribbon as a celebration and support of the breast cancer patients.

Cancer Ribbon Tattoo

Cancer Ribbon Tattoo

Cancer Ribbon Tattoo
The popularity of the pink ribbon became more popular when the Self Magazine distributed the cancer ribbons all over. This was the second annual awareness of the breast cancer.

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The ribbon tattoos were basically worn as a form or sign of support and campaign. There are many reasons for wearing these tattoos and here is a look at some of the common meanings of the ribbon tattoos.

Cancer Ribbon Tattoo

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  • As a sign of victory 

They are basically worn to support cancer and those that had been diagnosed with cancer, but successfully fought it, will wear the ribbon to show that they came out victorious. With the tattoo, it is permanent to always show that these people are completely healed.

Those that have these tattoos will show strength, bravery and courage. The type of cancer that was diagnosed will determine the color of the ribbon.

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  • For memorial 

The ribbon tattoos will not only be worn as a sign of victory, others will be worn as a memorial of a loved one, who died of cancer. When the loved one of a certain person passes on, the person will apply the ribbon tattoo as a memorial. The type of cancer will also determine what color of ribbon will be applied.

The ribbon can also be included with some few words. If it is a parent, a child, brother, sister, spouse or friend, their names will be added along the strands of the ribbon or below it. There are some that will feature a Bible verse.

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  • Support 

Generally, the tattoo might be as a sign of support to the person that suffers from cancer. If a person has been diagnosed with cancer, a friend or family member might apply the tattoo to support them. With such a tattoo, the person diagnosed with the given cancer will feel better and loved.

Cancer Ribbon Tattoo

Cancer Ribbon Tattoo

Cancer Ribbon Tattoo

Cancer Ribbon Tattoo

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Types of cancer ribbon tattoos

There are different tattoos that are applied for the sake of supporting the cancer patients, commemorating the deceased and as a sign of victory. The color is the major difference in these ribbons and here is a look at the common types of the ribbon tattoos for cancer.

  • Lavender ribbon

This tends to be quite popular in the society and it is a sign that symbolizes the general cancer awareness regardless of the type of cancer.

Cancer Ribbon Tattoo

  • Blue Ribbon

The blue ribbon is also a type of the cancer tattoo and it symbolizes other conditions other than cancer. For the cancer case, the ribbon will symbolize the colon cancer or colorectal cancer. They will be designed in different styles and shapes, but the theme remains blue.

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  • Brown ribbon

Another common cancer ribbon that is applied as a tattoo. It will be also be used as a symbol of the colorectal cancer and colon cancer. The tattoo might symbolize that the person was victorious or if they are commemorating a lost friend or family member. They will also be worn in different areas of the body.

  • Gold ribbon 

This is one of the ribbons that are worn as a victory symbol, but they are specifically worn to signify the childhood cancer. The person had cancer when they were young, then they would apply it, to show that they once had cancer, but they fought it successfully.

Cancer Ribbon Tattoo

  • Green ribbon 

Another ribbon for cancer that is applied as a tattoo is the green ribbon. With this color, it will signify the kidney cancer, either of the person with the tattoo, or a person they are celebrating.

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  • Gray ribbon

The gray ribbon will symbolize brain cancer and they are less common, since brain cancer is also rare in the society.

  • Light blue ribbon

This one is also another ribbon that symbolizes childhood cancer, as well as prostate cancer. It is among the most common ribbons that you can notice people applying them as tattoos.

Cancer Ribbon Tattoo

Cancer Ribbon Tattoo

  • Pearl ribbon tattoo

This ribbon will be used to symbolize lung cancer and it will be applied to any area of the body.

  • Purple ribbon 

This is also a common type of ribbon that is applied as a tattoo. It symbolizes a number of cancers, including the testicular cancer, pancreatic cancer, and thyroid cancer. They are also associated with lupus, which is closely related to cancer.

Cancer Ribbon Tattoo

  • Pink ribbon tattoo 

This is supposedly the most common cancer tattoo, which is a symbol of breast cancer awareness, as well as childhood cancer awareness. They can be worn by both male and female and the main aim is to support the cancer patients.

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  • White ribbon tattoos 

These tattoos are not exactly common, but they are used to symbolize bone cancer, a less common type of cancer.

  • Yellow ribbon tattoo

These tattoos will be applied to symbolize bladder cancer and they are among the most commonly applied cancer tattoos.

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When you are choosing a type of ribbon tattoo, ensure that you understand its meaning and what it generally symbolizes. This will help you wear it comfortably, without feeling awkward. All in all, find a professional, who can perfectly draw the ribbons in the best way.

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