UIC oncologist creates cartoons against cancer

A cartoon from "Cancer Ninja," a blog by UIC oncologist Andrew Howard

Self portrait by oncologist Andrew Howard for his blog, "Cancer Ninja"

Self portrait by oncologist Andrew Howard.

Andrew Howard, a radiologist oncologist at UI Hospital, wanted to make cancer more understandable for his patients.

So he started a blog, Cancer Ninja!, subtitled “A doctor fighting cancer, one drawing at a time.”

As he explains on the blog, “I’m an oncologist who got concerned that a lot of my patients don’t seem to understand their disease. I want to fix that.”

Instead of assigning them a book to read, Howard created a unique form of outreach — an online comic book that uses drawings and pictures to lead patients through the basics of cancer and treatment.

A cartoon of white blood cells from a blog by oncologist Andrew Howard, "Cancer Ninja"

In simple drawings and short explanations, Howard explains what happens to someone, from the basics of how a cell becomes cancerous, through diagnosis and treatment.

He focuses on breast cancer, but the information applies to almost any type of cancer.

He published the first blog post May 26. “I’m trying to update every Tuesday, but I’ve got to speed up my drawing process!” he said in an interview with Scope, a Stanford University College of Medicine blog.

His blog was also featured in Science Life, a blog by University of Chicago, where he is also a radiation oncologist.

To accompany the blog, Howard has created a Facebook page, CancerFightingNinja, a Twitter account, @DrCancerNinja, and an Instagram account, ninjacancer. Contact him at CancerFightingNinja@gmail.com



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