By Brooks Franciotti

Graphic showing the purple cancer awareness ribbons for pancreatic cancer during November

What is the purple ribbon meaning?

The purple awareness ribbon is a symbol widely recognized to represent awareness and support for cancers of the pancreas.

This particular color was chosen because it stands for purpose, carrying the message that every life is significant and every effort to combat this deadly disease counts. The ribbon not only honors those who are currently fighting this cancer but also commemorates the lives of those who have passed away from this aggressive illness.

It’s a symbol of solidarity, demonstrating a collective commitment to raising awareness, funding research, and providing support to affected individuals and their families.

When someone wears their cancer awareness ribbons, it's an act of empathy and advocacy—it's a way to visibly take part in the fight against this cancer and other cancers, and to encourage conversations that could lead to earlier diagnosis and better treatment options.

What is Pancreatic Cancer?

It's a type of cancer that begins in the tissues of an organ in your abdomen that lies horizontally behind the lower part of your stomach. 

This organ plays an essential role in digestion by producing enzymes that the body needs to digest fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. It also produces two critical hormones, insulin and glucagon, which help regulate blood sugar levels.

This cancer can occur in the exocrine cells, which produce the digestive enzymes, or in the endocrine cells, which produce hormones. However, the majority of cases are exocrine pancreatic cancers, with pancreatic adenocarcinoma being the second most common cancer type. [1]

Pancreatic Risk Factors

The most common risk factors for cancers of this type are family history and genetics, though diseases such as diabetes and obesity may also play a role.

Image of a cancer patient at a cancer screening for cancer diagnosis and preventionThe importance of regular screening

Unfortunately, this form of cancer is notorious for its poor prognosis.

This is because most cancer patients often don't feel a symptom at all until it's advanced and is therefore less likely to be detected at early stages when it's most treatable. Additionally, it tends to be aggressive, and surgery to remove it is an option only if it's found at an early stage before the cancer has spread.

Over 64,000 new cases will be diagnosed in the US in 2023, with the disease being a slightly more common cancer among men than women. [2]

How do you diagnose this type of cancer?

Diagnosis of a pancreatic tumor can be done with blood tests that look for possible side effects of this kind of cancer.

A liver function test can be done to determine whether a tumor blocking the bile duct is leading to increased amounts of bilirubin in the blood.

Similarly, a blood test can look for elevated levels of CA 19-9, a marker commonly associated with this form of cancer.

What is the survival rate for Pancreatic Cancer?

Research into the early detection and treatment of this severe abdominal cancer is ongoing, but it remains one of the deadliest cancer types due to its typically late diagnosis and rapid progression.

Some early stages of the cancer can be mitigated with a surgical cure, but there is no general cure for the disease.

An estimated 50,000 cancer-related deaths among people diagnosed will occur because of this disease in 2023.

That's why awareness, research, and advancements in early detection methods are critical to improving survival rates for these cancer patients and extending their lives.

Graphic promoting a cancer awareness month with ribbons and other awareness icons

When is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month?

This cancer awareness month is observed annually in November. [3]

It's a time dedicated to increasing awareness about this disease, including its symptoms, risks, and the need for early detection. It's also a month to honor those who have been affected by the disease and to emphasize the importance of research funding and support services.

During this month, survivors, advocacy groups, and healthcare professionals often come together to host events, share stories, and provide education, aiming to raise awareness and improve outcomes and support for those affected

It's also common during this month to see people wear purple cancer ribbons or clothing to raise awareness for the disease.

When is Pancreatic Cancer Day?

World Pancreatic Cancer Day is observed on the third Thursday of November every year, this year taking place on November 16th.

This day is part of the broader month of awareness during November and is dedicated to raising global awareness about this cancer, its symptoms and risks, and the need for more research and funding to fight this aggressive disease.

It's a day for people around the world to unite and advocate for progress in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of this cancer.

The importance of supporting organizations and research

In the ongoing fight against one of the most challenging forms of cancer, various organizations play a pivotal role in making strides in research, awareness, and care.

These advocacy groups are dedicated to advancing our understanding of this aggressive cancer, funding groundbreaking studies to improve early detection and develop more effective treatments.

They also work tirelessly to elevate awareness, ensuring that early signs are more widely recognized, which is crucial for early diagnosis. Beyond researching cures and treatment, these organizations provide invaluable aid to those affected and their families, offering resources, counseling, and a community that understands the journey.

Their commitment lights the path toward a future where this illness can be confronted with more hope and less uncertainty.

What color do you wear for pancreatic cancer?

Graphic showing  a purple cancer awareness ribbon and purple wristband variationsIn addition to the familiar purple ribbons, supporters of pancreatic cancer research and pancreatic cancer awareness month are encouraged to wear purple items of clothing during the month of November.

Whether it's a t-shirt or a full purple suit, this distinctive color can help bring attention to a cancer often overlooked.

Purple Ribbon: Quick Facts

  • Ribbon Color: Purple

  • Pantone Code: 266C

  • Hex Code: #753BBD

  • Rapidwristbands Color: Purple

How can I raise awareness during November?

During November, there's a wealth of opportunities for you to contribute to the awareness efforts for this significant health challenge.

One powerful way to spread the word is by donning wristbands of the color symbolizing this cause. Whether custom-designed with inspirational messages or just standard bands, wearing them serves as a visible sign of solidarity and can bring new light to your cause.

These wristbands can act as conversation starters, spreading vital recognition and symbolizing hope and love for those affected and their families.

Is this ribbon color used for any other awareness?

Yes, this particular color is also used as a ribbon to raise awareness for several non-cancer related causes, such as Domestic Violence and Abuse Awareness and Alzheimer's Awareness, the latter of which also has an awareness month that takes place during November.

This color is also used for two other cancers; Testicular Cancer and Leiomyosarcoma, a rare cancer of the smooth muscles of the body.

Ribbons for all Cancers

Cancer ribbons weave a tapestry of support, each color a thread representing a battle against a different form of cancer. There are dozens of these cancer awareness ribbon colors, with some individual cancers even sharing a particular color between different cancers.

How many Cancer Ribbon Colors are there?

The well-known pink ribbon is an emblem of the ongoing fight against breast cancer, while the light blue cancer awareness ribbon stands in solidarity with prostate cancer awareness and prostate tumors.

Lung cancer, a second leading cause of cancer death, is signified by a white cancer awareness ribbon during Lung Cancer Awareness Month in October, while the gray ribbon is used by the brain cancer support community.

For people affected by leukemia, orange cancer ribbons offer a bright symbol of hope, and childhood cancer is represented by the gold cancer awareness ribbon during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in October.

The green cancer awareness ribbon color, vibrant and eye-catching, is used to bring attention to lymphoma, gallbladder cancer and Cancer Survivors, while the lavender ribbon has been used as an alternate color for general cancer awareness.

These colored cancer awareness ribbons are not just symbols but are integral to the broader narrative of support, hope, and awareness for cancer and cancer patients, particularly highlighted during the months dedicated to each cancer type.

How can wristbands help support your cause?

We want to make it as easy as possible for families, cancer patients, and organizations to raise the support they need during difficult times.

That's why we love helping our customers create wristbands for their causes. They're an easily identifiable way to raise awareness for something in a way that stands out.





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