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Cancer Sells

December 9, 2020 in Comment, General

Tat Effby writes:

Cancer isn’t funny. I wouldn’t dream of making jokes about it. Or so I thought until I got it, after which point I’m afraid it was open season.

I’ve written about my experience of breast cancer in a graphic short story called Cancer Sells. It was my entry for the Jonathan Cape / Observer graphic short story competition and I’m pleased to share it here. I wasn’t a cartoonist when I was going through treatment but I was a writer, so all the appalling, demeaning, disgusting and absurd incidents got squirrelled away where they percolated for a long time. It’s now 10 years since my brush with cancer, although it was less of a brush and more like being beaten about the body with a broom.

I actually have quite a lot to thank cancer for; first it didn’t kill me, second it led, in a round about way, to me becoming a cartoonist. It was one of those crossroads moments (not a Crossroads moment – that involves a lot more wobbly scenery) where the simple act of not-dying made me consider a change of direction. So I left my job as an advertising creative and eventually evolved into a cartoonist, and let me tell you I’m glad I did: I’ve never had so much sex or money.

This story won’t be to everyone’s taste, cancer is an awful disease and I couldn’t countenance making jokes about someone else’s experience, but this was mine, so here it is.

All artwork and story © Tat Effby

You can support and get more information on breast cancer here:

Breast Cancer UK

Pink Ribbon Foundation 

Cancer Research UK