Breast Cancer Awareness Ribbons

Summary:The introduction of the pink ribbon as a symbol for breast cancer has had a huge impact on raising awareness about this disease. The sale of breast cancer awareness ribbons have helped more women have breast screenings whilst raising funds for supporting breast cancer charities.


Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer found in women. Early stage breast cancer, where the cancer is confined to the breast, can be detected using a mammogram (an X-ray of the breast).

Through breast cancer awareness, women are encouraged to have a mammogram on a regular basis. Breast cancer awareness has led to an increase in breast cancer being detected earlier, which may mean more treatment options and a better prognosis.

The pink ribbon, the symbol for breast cancer awareness, has a played a large part in this campaign.

The color pink is regarded as a feminine color and is now associated with breast cancer awareness. By buying, wearing and using products with the pink ribbon logo on them, people raise awareness about breast cancer and funds for supporting organizations.

The History Of Breast Cancer Awareness & The Pink Ribbon

The history of breast cancer awareness & its symbol, the pink ribbon, begins with Susan Goodman Komen. Susan was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1977 at the young age of 33. When she died only 3 years later, her younger sister Nancy Goodman Brinker devoted her life to ending breast cancer. Within two years of her sisters passing, Nancy had founded the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. This foundation has since been renamed, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and is the largest breast cancer charity in the world.

A pioneer of 'Cause Marketing', Nancy associated the color pink and the pink ribbon with breast cancer awareness during the early 1990's. The pink ribbon first appeared to the wider public during the Komen New York City Race in 1991. A new organization, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, was founded in 1993 and adopted the pink ribbon as the symbol of breast cancer. Since this time, the pink ribbon has become the globally accepted symbol for breast cancer awareness.

A Wide Variety Of Awareness Ribbons Have Been Produced

When a pink ribbon is worn, or the logo displayed on a product, it often becomes a topic of conversation and a chance to raise awareness about breast cancer. By raising awareness, women are encouraged to have their breasts checked on a regular basis; a mammogram is used to check for breast cancer.

To cater for many tastes, and so that it can be displayed on different items, a huge variety of materials have been used to create breast cancer awareness ribbons. The fabric, ribbon, is the obvious one! Other materials have included cotton, vinyl (where the ribbon is stuck onto a surface), metal (for ribbon awareness pins) and even wood where awareness ribbon pendants have been hand carved.

Breast Cancer Awareness Ribbons

Breast Cancer Awareness Ribbons Feature On A Wide Variety Of Products

Sales Of Awareness Ribbons Are Donated To Charity

When products which feature the breast cancer awareness ribbon are sold, a percentage or fixed amount is donated to a breast cancer charity or organization. The exact amount will vary and depends on the generosity of the seller or manufacturer.

Where a manufacturer introduces a limited pink or pink ribbon edition of a product (or product line), a percentage of net profit is often donated to designated breast cancer organizations.

Oakley, the famous sunglass brand, donates 20 dollars from each sale of its Dangerous & Commit Special Edition Performance Sunglasses to the Young Survival Coalition (YSC). The YSC is an organization which supports and educates younger women about breast cancer.

The Pink Ribbon Shop, an online web store created by a Stage IV breast cancer survivor, sells pink ribbon items, & donates a proportion of their profits to the MD Anderson Cancer Center. So far, over $50,000 dollars have been raised from direct sales on their web site. Many manufacturers of the items available on the site have also make a donation based on the level of sales.

The Future Of Breast Cancer Awareness...

There is no question that the breast cancer awareness campaign has been a resounding success, in part due to clever cause marketing & people showing support by buying and displaying products with the awareness ribbon.

More women than ever have had mammograms on a regular basis. It can be argued that breast cancer awareness is now an industry in its own right; awareness raising activities continue throughout the year, not just during the month of October.

Now that more members of the public are aware about breast cancer, it is hoped that greater emphasis will be placed on preventing breast cancer and finding a cure.

For more information, visit our Breast Cancer Awareness Month entry in the Health Awareness section.