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Views And Reviews No Holds Barred

Margaret McCartney: Cancer patients should not be shamed

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k1139 (Published 12 March 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k1139
  1. Margaret McCartney, general practitioner
  1. Glasgow
  1. margaret{at}margaretmccartney.com
    Follow Margaret on Twitter at @mgtmccartney

The charity Cancer Research UK has gone large on its publicity campaign about obesity. Bus stops and advertising hoardings are replete with black text on a white background. The adverts invite us to fill in the blanks and spell out OBESITY, asking us to “Guess what is the biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking.”

The plain layout with warning label is reminiscent of a cigarette packet. I don’t think this is coincidental. In what Cancer Research UK itself describes as a “PR stunt,”1 the charity also created “fake cigarette packets with chips in to visually represent that obesity is the second biggest preventable …

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