South Park’s Mr. Hankey as Rectal Cancer Mascot

“] The earthy brown visage of South Park’s Mr. Hankey, the “Christmas Poo,” could become the new face of rectal cancer  if comedian and cancer patient Michelle Dobrawsky has anything to do with it.

In an open letter that has been circulating the Internet, Dobrawsky petitions the creators of South Park, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, to license their famous animated bowel movement as the official “spokesturd” of rectal cancer.

“Yep, I’ve got cancer.  Rectal cancer – the funniest cancer of all, fortunately!  And, frankly, a cancer with a big ol’ marketing problem,” she writes in her letter. “You see, rectal cancer doesn’t even have its own ribbon.”

She hopes to raise awareness for rectal cancer by using Mr. Hankey as its “official ambassador,” slapping his face onto “every ribbon, T-shirt, electric mixer, lipstick, football helmet, mouth guard, sneaker, toaster, stapler and every other endorsable, colorable product in the world!” she writes.

Each year about 40,000 people are diagnosed with rectal cancer in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. In 2011, 49,380 people died from colorectal cancer — a category that includes both colon cancer and rectal cancer.  While rectal cancer traditional strikes older people, a study from 2010 suggested that it might be becoming more prevalent among those under 40.

When caught early, about 75 percent of rectal cancer patients survive at least five years after diagnosis, but  survival rates drop to 6 percent when the cancer progresses to late stage, according to the ACS.

“Rectal cancer is its own, special (to me) disease, and deserves a higher-profile endorsement,” Dobrawsky writes.