featured image for blog post about cancer research uk stigmatising campaign #supportnotstigma #wellbeingoverweight

The CRUK Advertisement Campaign IS dangerous

As a fat person I am discriminated against. I feel like I have less discrimination than others because I’m not as marginalised as some, I’m a mum that’s had two c-sections and I’ve constantly said how ashamed I am of my body. The truth is if I go to the doctors for ANY reason I will be told I am fat and that will fix my problems. Over the years GP’s have dismissed my health, my anxiety, my post-natal depression, my wellbeing, my contraception choices because I am fat. They have refused to help me apart from telling me to be thin. Even at my cervical screening I was told I was too fat by a nurse. Not for the cervical screening (which was absolutely fine) but just that I was too fat.

View this post on Instagram

HOLD CRUK ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR STIGMATISING CAMPAIGN// Reading through the comments on my post from Monday about the new @cr_uk campaign put it into sharp focus how much hurt and pain this campaign has caused. Along with a team of wonderful colleagues across health care, academia and fat activism, we have crafted a considered response to CRUK calling for the immediate cessation of this campaign. We have written an open letter which published this morning on Medium. We also felt it was important to capture how people have been affected by this and to give them something to actually *do* about it. Therefore we have also created a petition that you can sign in support of the 5 action point on the second slide (swipe 👉). You can also leave a comment underneath to share your experiences of this campaign, which we will then pass along to CRUK (as they somehow are still adamant it’s not harmful 🤨). Please share the petition as far and wide as is humanly possible. Link where links go.

A post shared by Laura Thomas, PhD, RNutr (@laurathomasphd) on

I know I am fat. I have known for a long time. I have known through the starvation, the food deprivation, the binge eating, the yo-yo dieting, the body shame, the body hatred, the self harm, the depression, the tears in the mirror, the guilt for feeling hungry. The well meaning thoughts from family that “if you just lost weight” the “oh don’t say that about yourself” conversations. I am fat and it’s none of your business.

I am fat but I don’t get sick very often. I am fat but I walk plenty, I love swimming and my blood pressure is fine. I am fat but I absolutely hate pizza. I am fat but I’m giving up dairy and cutting down on meat because I don’t like it. I am fat but I love aqua zumba. I am fat but actually I am very capable of making wellbeing choices for myself. It’s only when I stop the guilt and the shame and focusing on the happiness and self love that I make better choices, that I listen to what my body craves.

The thing is though, BMI is a load of crap – you can have a high BMI and be made of pure muscle so how can a BMI accurately detect obesity if it’s to do with fat? It’s an outdated measurement. So how can a high BMI = fat = cancer? Diet can play a massive part in the cell changes that lead to cancer but a thin person can eat junk food? So how can that mean fat = cancer? I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I walk, I swim, my diet isn’t the best but it’s not constantly fueled by junk food & fried food. There are some cancers in my family but it isn’t as rife as it is in others. So my real risk factor is my BMI which I will agree is higher due to fat not muscle, but BMI is one of the lowest “causes” of cancer?

This campaign doesn’t make sense.

I’ve just watched a lovely blogger friend of mine, Emma from Island Living 365 go through chemo for bowel cancer. She’s had two operations in quick sucession. She is a lovely person who from what I can see has a really active, fun lifestyle. She did race for life whilst going through treatment!

It just goes to show that cancer can affect you if you are the healthiest, thinnest person in the world. Cancer can affect anyone. Blaming obesity and comparing it to smoking is dangerous. This campaign will put fat people off from going to the doctors, going to cervical screenings, going for check ups, ignoring their body.

I strongly recommend you read this open letter by Laura Thomas and a group of health professionals, acedemics and people who want to change the stigma on weight. If you agree with the contents of the letter then please sign the petition to get this damaging campaign removed before it ruins lives. Because it will. It absolutely will.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.