A tricolor bladder cancer awareness ribbon in the spotlight on a stage.

Opinion: Why Bladder Cancer Organizations Should Adopt the Tricolor Ribbon

When I was finally diagnosed with bladder cancer after a few years of fighting the uphill battle, I took to the world wide web. In my pain med-induced stupor, while I waited in anticipation for the urology oncology surgeon, I googled "bladder cancer awareness ribbon." The image of a lovely tricolored ribbon was the first thing I saw.

Searching for ways to spread awareness

I had already decided that I was going to hit the ejector button on bladder cancer. Determined to beat it, I would get myself some accessories while I did. While I awaited surgery, I decided I would do a social media campaign. For that, I was going to need the right awareness colors.

The image I first discovered, that tricolored ribbon, was blue, purple, and marigold yellow. I immediately gravitated to the image and began my tricolored campaign against bladder cancer. The more that I learned as I dove into my shopping and research, the more shocked I became. The tricolor ribbon is not universally accepted.

Which ribbon colors represent bladder cancer?

The most widely accepted ribbon by various bladder cancer organizations is the color orange. Some people use a yellow ribbon. The tricolor ribbon is most broadly utilized for bladder cancer in the United States.

Personally, I still covet the tricolor ribbon and other accessories. I will always use the tricolor combination. My opinion is the bladder cancer organizations are missing the mark by not utilizing the tricolor ribbon. I believe they are missing huge awareness opportunities.

Reasons for the tricolor bladder cancer ribbon:

1. The tricolor ribbon is original.

A quick search of what yellow ribbons are used for yields around thirty different causes. These have mostly to do with military or violence-related causes. A similar search for orange ribbons, just over twenty causes. These include two other types of cancers plus kidney disease. Searching for a blue, purple, and yellow tricolor ribbon only bears one result: bladder cancer.

2. It is a conversation starter.

The original purpose of even wearing or displaying a ribbon is to raise awareness and spur conversation. I have found that I have fewer conversations when I am wearing yellow or orange for bladder cancer. When wearing those colors, people generally assume that they already know why I'm wearing the color. They are rarely correct. I am always asked what the tricolor ribbon represents.

3. The reasons for not using the tricolor ribbon are petty.

The first entity that used the tricolor ribbon was a US-based for-profit business. Therefore, some do not want to recognize or use it. To that, I say, so what? So they have profited off of it. Why does that mean that our organizations and causes should not profit off of it as well?

Unifying and raising awareness

I have also been given the reasons that businesses and organizations do not carry the tricolor option due to costs. Product companies supposedly do not want to through the extra effort of creating a tricolor ribbon. Bogus!

I have done my own research.

The puzzle piece ribbon products for autism are offered at the same price as solid color products. This is the same for the zebra-striped ribbon products for rare diseases and neuroendocrine cancer. A tricolor ribbon would be easier to make than either of those, so they can either make the products in our colors or lose our business. Product companies want our business, so they will do what we want.

All in all, the tricolor ribbon could easily be a unifier. It could bring all of us together for our cause. Our cause is bladder cancer. We are a unique disease that faces numerous unique issues. Why shouldn't we have a unique color combination to represent our cause?

Honestly, I cannot think of a single reason. That is just my opinion, though.

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