Meditations of an oncology geek

If cancer were a color, what color would it be?

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15 April 2011

Since it’s my birthday I figured I’d post something a little different for this week’s article, which was inspired by Randall Hollis, a rising young artist in San Diego, CA.

“Here’s a random stupid fun one I thought of: If cancer were a color, what color would it be!? (literal and figurative)”

If cancer were a color, it would be predominantly pink. Most human cancer comes from epithelial cells of the breast, prostate, lung, pancreas, and gut, and although I can thoroughly assure you that the inside of tumors are pretty gross to look at, most of the time they are pink.

Figuratively, cancer is definitely orange, like the parasitic fungi to the right. Enough said. See below.

Melanomas are often black in color. This is because they derive from melanocytes, the cell type that produces melanin, the substance that produces darker skin in humans. Patients with aggressive melanoma will often have so many deposits of small tumors across their body that their skin appears gray in color!

Leukemias are often white in color, because it is a cancer of white blood cells that grow so fast that they completely out-compete all of the other cell types that comprise the blood. In fact, patients with advanced leukemias will often have white, not red, colored blood!

Figuratively, if I were to give cancer a color, it would have to be orange. I’m serious. Aesthetically, orange pretty much always clashes with other colors, and almost never compliments any of them in a composition. Orange is seldom found in nature, and it usually signifies animals, fungi, or bacteria that are extremely poisonous to humans. Or big dangerous cats, like tigers. It can also be found on the dead, discarded leaves of deciduous trees, which is an omen of winter and rougher times ahead. I find this analogous to the battle of cancer patients: chemotherapy often makes life more miserable before it gets better.

I guess mandarins are also orange, and I can’t really find anything malicious about them off the top of my head, so I am going to stop there and forget about it.

So there you have it: cancer is orange. Enough said.

-Ryon

Written by Ryon

April 15th, 2011 at 9:43 am

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