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Billboard: Hot Dogs Lead To Butt Cancer

By Jutta Klee
Posted On Apr 06, 2012

Consuming processed meats, such as hot dogs, increases the risk of colorectal cancer—so a doctor’s organization is spreading the news in a big way.

By: Ivette Figueroa
Miami, FL, Apr. 6, 2012 (New You Media)—Baseball, hotdogs and butt cancer? Not exactly the American Dream, but a new billboard near the Marlins Park stadium in Miami warns fans that hot dogs can increase the risk of colorectal cancer. Sponsored by a nonprofit nutrition advocacy organization called PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine), this billboard depicts a cartoon man in a hospital gown, hot dog in hand, staring at his protruding bum.

The sign went up on April 4th, just in time for the 2012 baseball season’s opening game. “The goal is to educate the population on how diet plays a role in health and prevention. We do that through campaigns, legislative efforts in DC, etc.,” says Susan Levin, Director of Nutrition Education at PCRM. “If we can present the information to the public in a clear and understandable way, then they can make educated choices.”

The choice of venue was more than mere coincidence. “An immense amount of research has been compiled on processed meats linking to colorectal cancer. We’ve been doing this campaign across the country for years since the reports came out in 2007 from the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research,” says Levin.

The study came to a groundbreaking conclusion that processed meats are directly linked to colorectal cancer and that it’s not safe to consume any. “We’ve posted similar billboards at Nascar racetracks, Baconfests [an actual day of celebration of bacon], and wherever we feel like the consumption is being marketed, just so people can make an educated choice—especially if you are choosing to give it to your kids,” she adds.

The Marlins stadium boasts panoply of hot dog propaganda, including an all-you-can-eat buffet with, of course, an unlimited supply of hot dogs. The numbers are staggering: during baseball season, Americans typically consume 7 billion hot dogs, and the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council projected last year that fans would eat more than 22 million hot dogs at ballparks.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer among American men and women, accounting for about 10% of cases and deaths. Nearly 1,300 Miami residents are diagnosed with colorectal cancer every year.

The overly blunt language on the billboard is attributed to a surprising survey that showed 39 percent of Americans don’t know where their colon is. “We conducted a survey to see if people really knew what colorectal cancer is or if they even knew where their colon was and the results were not good, so we decided to use language that was easier to understand,” says Levin.

“The research is not in question. The real question is, why isn’t this information getting out into the public?” asks Levin. “I think it’s going to take years for the public to understand the dangers of something they enjoy, just like the tobacco campaign.”

On a positive note, there are foods that can help you lower the risk. “It’s not just about avoiding unhealthful foods but adding in healthful foods. More fiber and vegetables decreases the risk of colorectal cancer,” says Levin.