Doctors Launch #BreakUpWithBacon Campaign in Washington D.C.

Hard-hitting bus shelter advertisements near D.C. hospitals will urge patients and others to #BreakUpWithBacon to prevent colon cancer. The ads warn “Bacon and other processed meats can cause colorectal cancer,” and “Bacon can bite you back!” The bus shelter ads, scheduled to start going up the week of Sept. 24, are sponsored by the Physicians Committee, a nonprofit with 12,000 doctor members. Numerous print, radio and TV ads are also appearing during September and early October.

The colorectal cancer rate for African Americans in the District is nearly triple that for whites—59.1 versus 22.1 per 100,000. Similarly, the incidence of colorectal cancer in Ward 8 is roughly three times higher than in Wards 2 and 3. The campaign aims to reach the entire District, but additional ads target the wards hit hardest by colorectal cancer.

The advertisements also aim to push hospitals to stop serving cancer-causing foods in their cafeterias and patient menus. “D.C. hospitals can help patients, staff, and visitors prevent colorectal cancer by banning bacon and other processed meats,” says Physicians Committee president Neal Barnard, M.D., F.A.C.C. “As places of healing, hospitals should break up with bacon, just like they dumped cigarettes a generation ago.”

The American Medical Association advised hospitals in 2017 to eliminate bacon and other processed meats to protect the health of patients, staff, and visitors. The World Health Organization has determined that processed meat, including bacon, is a major contributor to colorectal cancer, classifying it as “carcinogenic to humans.” WHO warns that there is no amount safe for consumption, and explains that its assessment is “…based on sufficient evidence from epidemiological studies that eating processed meat causes colorectal cancer.”

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