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NEWS RELEASE September 9, 2003

American Cancer Society Promotes Disease with Beef Fundraisers, Say Doctors

PCRM Launches Campaign Calling on Charity to Cancel “Cattle Barons’ Ball” in Atlanta and 50 Other Cities

WASHINGTON—The American Cancer Society (ACS) would be guilty of promoting the very disease it’s committed to curing if it goes ahead with plans for a major beef promotion in Atlanta, says the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The ACS fundraiser, one of more than 50 “Cattle Barons’ Balls” held across the country each year, is scheduled for October 11 at Atlanta’s Freight Depot. The event would be a first for Atlanta, the headquarters for the ACS.

PCRM president Neal D. Barnard, M.D., will send a letter tomorrow to ACS president Mary Simmonds, M.D., calling on her to immediately cancel the events, which openly promote beef consumption, a known contributor to cancer. PCRM is also launching a nationwide write-in campaign today, asking Americans to demand that the American Cancer Society stop promoting cancer-causing foods.

“It’s outrageous for the American Cancer Society to sponsor beef promotions. Regular meat consumption is linked to a three-fold increase in colon cancer risk and a significantly higher overall risk,” Dr. Barnard says. “It’s no different than if the ACS held smoking marathons to raise money for lung cancer research.”

As long ago as 1982, the National Research Council linked dietary habits—particularly the intake of fatty foods, such as beef—to cancer risk. Since then, other major health authorities have come out with similar findings. New studies are continually released solidifying the case against meat consumption. Earlier this year, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reported that the rate of breast cancer among premenopausal women who ate the most animal fat was a third higher than that of women who ate the least animal fat. A separate study, published in Lancet this year, similarly linked diets high in saturated fat to breast cancer. The American Cancer Society itself advises in its brochures and Web site that consumers reduce their consumption of red meats.

As Dr. Barnard says, “If ACS chooses to promote products linked to cancer risk, it is, in effect, condemning untold Americans to a horrific battle with a deadly disease.”

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

Media Contact:
Jeanne S. McVey

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