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The major objective is to develop the first book of a boxed set series of comic vignettes that will serve as a clinical educational tool for pediatric patients with a recent cancer diagnosis and their caregivers. These comics are hypothesized to improve patient and family understanding of the disease, its treatment, side effects, and outcomes in an engaging and aesthetically pleasing way. The overall goals of this project are to reduce anxiety and increase health literacy in patients and their families while assisting the oncology team in providing optimal medical care, thus improving the overall quality of treatment. Comics aimed at other chronic illnesses, such as asthma and diabetes, were found to be effective forms of health communication. The combination of story-telling images paired with simplified text makes them amicable and easily understood by readers who may face barriers to understanding complex health information. Comics aimed at educating caregivers and pediatric cancer patients prior to treatment are not presently available. Best practices in writing comics and children’s graphic novels were studied prior to creating this work. Common treatment protocols for pediatric cancers including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery were reviewed for accurate representation in this series. The first vignette in Cancer Comics was created and approved by an interdisciplinary team comprising of a radiation oncologist and specialists in the areas of health sciences, children’s literature, and graphic medicine. The series is intended to be an in-clinic educational tool to engage pediatric patients more directly in their treatment.


graphic medicine; health literacy; pediatric oncology; patient education; cancer narrative


Graphic Communications | Health Communication | Medical Education | Medical Humanities | Oncology | Pediatrics

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Natalie Johns RH Thesis_Final.pdf is the written thesis.

Cancer Comics- Luke Lionheart Gets Sick.pdf is the creative work completed in fulfillment of my thesis.

Please read the written thesis before the comic to understand the graphic medical education tool.

Natalie Johns Reflective Essay.pdf (59 kB)
Research Essay