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Cancer, Chemo, Radiation and … Dandelions

Olivier Bernard is a pharmacist in Quebec with a popular blog, Le Pharmachien. That’s where he posts comics that take complicated medical subjects and breaks them down into everyday language. Usually, that everyday language is French. This explanation of cancer treatments is available in both French and English. First, there’s the analogy that compare cancer to dandelions in your yard. If that’s not clear enough, the analogy is explained in more cute comics. Then he goes into the details not covered earlier.

My initial idea was to write a cartoon entitled “5 toxic beliefs about chemotherapy”. The goal was to take 5 myths about chemo and deconstruct them. In doing this, I wanted to challenge the false notions about chemotherapy that are perpetuated over the internet.

However, along the way something became obvious: it’s absolutely pointless to attack false beliefs on chemo… when the majority of people do not know what cancer really is.

Then, by pure chance, two oncologists appeared out of nowhere and proposed to help me make a comic on cancer! It’s great how things work out.

The result is a lesson that starts out simple, and then gets more in-depth. If you were sharing this with children, you’d find an appropriate place to stop depending on their understanding. For adults, the more you read, the more clear cancer treatment gets. Read the entire comic in English or in French. That’s where I found out that the French word for dandelions is pissenlits -Thanks, Yan!  

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