Diseases Cancer

History Of the Pink Ribbon And Breast Cancer


There is a lot that can be said about the color pink. It is a pretty color but for a special group of women and men it signifies something more than just a pretty color. It has come to signify breast cancer and the people that it affects on a yearly basis. Breast cancer dates back to 1600 B.C. when first described as tumors or ulcers of the breast and were cauterized. There was of course no known treatment at the time. Surgeons Petit and then later Bell were the first two to remove the lymph nodes, underlying breast tissue and part of the chest muscle. William Halsted started performing mastectomies in 1882, and could cause a woman to have life long pain and suffering but was also deemed as being necessary to survive and stop the cancer from recurring. This procedure stayed the standard in treating breast cancer until 1970s when breast cancer was seen as an illness and new procedures were developed.


In recent years, awareness has been made to breast cancer by using pink for a ribbon. Cancer pink has brought attention not only to those that suffer from it, but also to help raise funds in the treatment and cure for breast cancer. You can find cancer pink ribbons on food products, office supplies and just about anything these days. There have also been walks created for breast cancer to help off set the cost of research. Cancer pink ribbon was at first a peach ribbon that Charlotte Haley started as a symbol for the women in her life that suffered with breast cancer. Estee Lauder heard of her and wanted to help her with the ribbon campaign and Haley declined. After talking to lawyers, Estee was told to come up with a different color and thus began the cancer pink ribbon symbol that is now known worldwide.


October has been deemed National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and this is usually when Walks for A Cure happens. Almost every single person who is in a walk wears a shirt that has the cancer pink ribbon on it. It is worn by people who have been affected by breast cancer and is the symbol that the Susan G Komen uses to help raise funds to fight breast cancer and find a cure. Cancer pink ribbons started out as just ribbons that could be pinned on a shirt, coat or hat and has now exploded to include jewelry, clothing and almost anything that you can think of. Big corporations have started to use the campaigns in October to their advantage offering exclusive items in pink that are only available for the month of October.

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We must remember that at first breast cancer was only thought to affect older women. It is now known to happen in younger females and also to men. Cancer pink ribbons are becoming very popular and many places offer bracelets that have ribbons on them. Cancer research has helped in finding a cure for breast cancer and the awareness that has caught people’s attention has helped woman become more aware of the risk. There have been many great strides in helping women that can not afford mammograms get them for free. Hopefully the cancer pink ribbon will become a thing of the past as a cure is found for breast cancer.

By Sally Vigil, published at 02/15/2012
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