Each October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month increases their visibility as sports teams, airlines and businesses embrace pink to raise awareness for the disease.
However, October is not the only cancer awareness month. Almost every month throughout the year is dedicated to the eradication of some form of cancer — with several months taking on several forms of cancer at once. Each year, World Cancer Day, represented by a lavender ribbon, is celebrated on February 4, raising awareness those battling cancer in all its forms.
With information from the American Cancer Society and various cancer organizations, the Times has highlighted many of these commemorations that provide awareness and aid year round.
Cervical cancer is the second-most common type of cancer for women worldwide, according to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, with more than 12,000 women in the United States diagnosed each year. Cervical cancer develops slowly over time and is almost always caused by the Human papillomavirus. Not all forms of HPV cause cervical cancer, and around 80 percent of women have been infected with HPV by age 50. Cervical cancer develops slowly, and is often diagnosed in women between 35 and 55 years old, with 20 percent of cases developing in women older than 65. Because it develops over time, it is one of the most preventable types of cancer.
Bile duct cancer is not common in the U.S., with only 2,000 to 3,000 people developing the cancer each year. The average age of those afflicted with bile duct cancer is 71, according to the American Cancer Society. Bile duct cancer forms in any cells of the bile duct network while gallbladder cancer begins in the inner layer of the organ. Signs are often missed at first, and both forms are often diagnosed at later, more advanced stages.
Colorectal Cancer Awareness
Ribbon Color: Dark Blue
In 2000, Congress designated March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month following initiatives by the Prevent Cancer Foundation. According to the Center for Disease Control, colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, with more than 50,000 people dying each year. Symptoms include blood in the stool, stomach pain that does not go away and unexplained weight-loss. More than 90 percent of those who are affected by colorectal cancer are 50 years or older.
More than 100,000 kidney cancer survivors are currently living in the U.S. Symptoms include blood in urine, and an abdominal mass or lump. Symptoms often don't appear until later. Kidney cancer is most likely to affect men between the ages of 40 and 60. Men have three times the likelihood of developing kidney cancer than women.
Testicular cancer develops quickly in one or both of the testicles, with the potential to spread to other parts of the body. A testicular tumor can double in size in 10 to 30 days. The cancer most often affects those between the ages of 15 and 35. One out of 270 men will be diagnosed and around 375 people are killed by testicular cancer each year. The rate of testicular cancer has been growing in the U.S. Symptoms include a lump of any size on the testical, or enlargement, pain or discomfort of the testical.
Esophageal Cancer Awareness
Ribbon Color: Periwinkle
There are two main types of esophageal cancer, squamous cell — the most common worldwide — and adenocarcinoma — the most common in the U.S. Squamous cell can be caused by heavy alcohol consumption and smoking, while adenocarcinoma is often caused by acid reflux. Symptoms can include painful swallowing, weight loss, blood in stool, pain the the throat or hoarseness, though most do not exhibit symptoms until the tumor blocks the esophagus, making it difficult to swallow. The five-year survival rate is 18 percent, though the five-year survival rate for esophageal cancer which has not spread is 40 percent.
Every year, approximately 45,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with oral cancer each year. Smoking and tobacco use are two major risk factors, though there is a growing contingent of patients who contract oral cancer from the HPV virus. People with head or neck cancer exhibit symptoms including swelling, red patches in the mouth, a lump in the head or neck area, double vision, blood in the saliva or phlegm, among other symptoms.
Skin Cancer Awareness
Ribbon Color: Black
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. with more than 2 million people diagnosed each year. One in five Americans will develop cancer. Melanoma, one of the least common but most deadly skin cancers is the only form of skin cancer to increase in incidence in recent years. The survival rate for melanoma is currently at 91 percent. More people currently develop skin cancer because of tanning than develop lung cancer because of smoking, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
Brain Cancer Awareness
Ribbon Color: Grey
More than 23,000 Americans are diagnosed with malignant brain cancer each year, with more than 2000 cases affecting children younger than 14. Brain and central nervous system tumors account for 21 percent of childhood cancers, according to the National Cancer Institute. Symptoms can include headaches, nausea and vomiting, changes in speech, vision, hearing, balance or memory and changes in personality and mood.
Bladder Cancer Awareness
Ribbon: Yellow, blue and purple
Most people with bladder cancer, about 90 percent, are older than 55, with the average age of diagnosis of 73. There are about 74,000 new cases of bladder cancer diagnosed each year, with approximately 16,000 deaths each year, according to the American Cancer Society. Men are three-to-four times more likely to be diagnosed than women. Symptoms include blood in the urine and changes in bladder habits. Advanced symptoms include being unable to urinate, lower back pain, bone pain and swelling in the feet.
Childhood Cancer Awareness
According to the American Cancer Society, childhood cancers make up less than 1 percent of all cancers diagnosed each year, with about 10,000 American children younger than 15 diagnosed each year. The survival rate for childhood cancers is more than 80 percent for five years or more. Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in children.
Blood Cancer Awareness Month
The range of blood cancers include leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, myelodysplastic syndromes and myeloproliferative neoplasms. These cancers can affect the bone marrow, blood cells, and lymph nodes, according to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Each year, approximately 150,000 Americans are diagnosed with blood cancers each year. Blood cancer is responsible for approximately 9 percent of the deaths from cancer each year.
Ovarian Cancer Awareness
About one in 75 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer in their lifetime. About 21,000 people are diagnosed each year, while approximately 14,000 women will die each year. Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women. Half of those diagnosed with ovarian cancer are 63 years or older. Symptoms include bloating, pelvic pain, trouble eating and urinary symptoms.
Prostate Cancer Awareness
Ribbon: Light Blue
Prostate cancer is the second-most common cancer among men, according to the American Cancer Society, with about one in seven people being diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. The disease primarily affects men 65 and older, and it is rare to be diagnosed before the age of 40. The five-year survival rate for prostate cancer is nearly 100 percent, with the 15-year survival rate coming in at 94 percent.
Breast Cancer Awareness
Ribbon Color: Pink
Breast cancer is the second-most common cancer in women, following skin cancer, though breast cancer affects both men and women. Each year approximately 230,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer according to the National Cancer Institute. Less than 1 percent of people are diagnosed before age 30. Risk factors can include family history and breast density.
Liver Cancer Awareness
Ribbon Color: Emerald Green
Each year, a greater percentage of Americans develop liver cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. The disease primarily affects older people, with 95 percent of diagnoses occurring in those 45 or older. Each year, approximately 36,000 people are diagnosed, with approximately 25,000 people dying each year. Liver cancer symptoms often don't appear until the disease has progressed. Symptoms include weight loss, nausea and pain or swelling in the abdomen.
Pancreatic Cancer Awareness
Ribbon Color: Purple
Most people do not exhibit signs of pancreatic cancer until the disease has spread to other parts of the body, according to the American Cancer Society. Pancreatic cancer accounts for 3 percent of cancers in the U.S. and 7 percent of cancer deaths. Approximately 49,000 people are diagnosed each year. Warning signs include jaundice, abdominal or back pain and digestive problems.
Lung Cancer Awareness
Ribbon Color: White
Lung cancer accounts for approximately 13 percent of all new cancers, with an estimated 221,000 new cases diagnosed each year. According to the Lung Cancer Alliance, lung cancer symptoms include coughing, blood in sputum, pain in the chest and fatigue. Often, lung cancer has no symptoms until it has spread. Once spread, symptoms include hoarseness, pain in swelling, and excess fluid in the lining of the lung.
Stomach cancer is the fifth-most common cancer worldwide, with more than 25,000 cases diagnosed each year in the U.S. and 10,000 Americans dying each year. The average age of people diagnosed with stomach cancer is 69. According to the American Cancer Society, stomach cancer was the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. until the late 1930s. The overall five-year, relative survival rate of people with stomach cancer is 29 percent.