PCRM Billboard Warns of Hot Dog-Cancer Link
Chicago drivers are getting a frank message from a PCRM billboard this spring: “Hot Dogs Cause Butt Cancer.”
“Colon cancer attacks 140,000 Americans every year, killing about 50,000, and processed meats are a clear-cut contributor,” says Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., PCRM nutrition education director. “Many Americans have no idea that eating hot dogs and bacon raises their risk of this deadly disease.”
The billboard’s blunt language was prompted by a recent survey sponsored by PCRM and conducted by a major polling company. Thirty-nine percent of those surveyed did not know where the colon is in the body. More worrisome was the fact that about two out of three Americans did not know what part of the body is more likely to get cancer as a result of eating processed meats frequently. For many years, cancer authorities have linked hot dogs and other processed meats to colon cancer, but the message has not gotten through to the public.
Chicagoans are among the largest consumers of hot dogs nationwide, and hot dog restaurants there are said to outnumber all fast-food restaurants combined. The Chicago area is home to leading hot dog manufacturers, including Kraft Foods, which produces Oscar Mayer franks, Sara Lee, producer of Ball Park Franks, and Vienna Beef. Illinois also has one of the nation’s highest rates of colorectal cancer.
“It is a bit surprising that we have to simplify the message to this extent,” Levin says. “Hopefully the information will get through.”
Studies also show a strong link between other types of cancer and processed meats. An NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, for example, found that processed red meat was associated with a 10 percent increased risk of prostate cancer with every 10 grams of increased intake.