A controversial new billboard on the Eisenhower Expressway is trying to increase awareness of colorectal cancer with a blunt message: Hot Dogs Cause Butt Cancer.
Drivers passing between the Kostner and Cicero exits while heading west won't be able to miss the sign, which includes a cartoon drawing of a man in a hospital gown with a hot dog in hand. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine posted the billboard this week, in what they say is a way to get important research out of a medical journal and into people's brains.
Susan Levin, nutrition director for the PCRM, said the group was inspired by a 2007 American Institute for Cancer Research study that said eating processed meats increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 21 percent.
"Nobody knows this - this is the kind of language you hear when people talk about tobacco and lung cancer but nobody was associating processed meats like pepperoni, or hot dogs or deli meats with cancer," Levin said.
Levin said hopes the billboard raises awareness in a city that's known for its hot dogs.
Meanwhile, the American Meat Institute is calling the billboard "outrageous." The national meat and poultry trade organization released a statement Wednesday that cited multiple studies that say there is no link between colon cancer and processed meats. The statement said hot dogs are part of any healthy diet when put alongside vegetables, grains and dairy.
In 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found Illinois has one of the highest rates of colorectal cancer in the country.