Cancer survivor tattoos are seen as a badge of honor, either by someone who has fought the disease and won or by their friends and loved ones. They are used to raise awareness and as symbols of hope and support for those still going through the struggle so they know others have come through it. They also help those who are affected by the disease feel good about their bodies.
Cancer survivor tattoos can be any variation of the universally accepted symbol for cancer, the ribbon. Variations include the ribbon adorning a more personal symbol, a ribbon with or without a name, personal quote or other message or an image that is completely unique to the survivor. Different colors for the ribbons symbolize the various types of cancer. The cancer ribbon in lavender represents simply cancer, while yellow represents bladder cancer, gray represents brain cancer, pink represents breast cancer, white represents cervical cancer, dark blue represents colon cancer and gold represents childhood cancer. Dates of diagnosis, treatment and cure can be added anywhere on the tattoo. For survivors who have scars, strategic placements of the tattoo over scars can help cover them. Some tattoos can even be made to look like nipples missing after reconstructive surgery for breast cancer.