Research has identified misleading and stigmatizing popular beliefs about schizophrenia, but little is known about media images corresponding to these beliefs. Building on Susan Sontag's exploration of cancer in the 1978 book Illness as Metaphor, the authors hypothesize that "schizophrenia" is now more commonly misused. A total of 1,740 newspaper articles from 1996 or 1997 that mentioned schizophrenia or cancer were randomly selected and then coded for contextual and metaphorical use. Only 1 percent of articles that mentioned cancer used that illness in a metaphorical way, compared with 28 percent of the articles that mentioned schizophrenia. Results differed by newspaper but not by region. The authors suggest that these inaccurate metaphors in the media contribute to the ongoing stigma and misunderstandings of psychotic illnesses.