rich emollient used in the management of eczema, psoriasis and other dry skin conditions.


I have been looking at cancer blogs and forums and have noticed something quite disappointing. They are filled (quite rightly) with inspirational survivor stories and battle cries, but are lacking in discussions on death and dying. The two largest cancer support organisations have produced practical booklets but there are few opportunities to open up about how you are feeling following bereavement. In our case, the GP says ‘significant bereavement’.

When I first started talking and writing about Mom’s death from cancer I was amazed at how many people wanted to talk to me. Many had questions they had been too afraid to ask, too afraid of the answers. I had encouraging feedback too from a letter I published in the local newspaper, in praise of local end of life care services in our area.

I set about writing this blog, to document my own thoughts and to provide a forum for other families. The thing is, we still don’t like to talk about death. And we sure as heck don’t like to think about our own mortality. Cancer is a different disease for everyone but the one thing that all cancer patients have in common is having to confront their mortality. And that is devastating.

So let’s talk about dying, it helps us prepare and it can ease the pain of bereavement. Whilst there are incredible success stories in cancer treatment, many people still die from cancer. It would be wrong to avoid talking about death in order to not upset those brave and hopeful people going through treatment, but for many people there will come a time when the brave thing to do is to talk about dying.

My thoughts are with you all.

Read more from me at my blog Living with Mom’s cancer



I am a scientist and a blogger. I have a PhD in the genetics of cardiovascular risk. My Mom died of cancer last year. We learnt a lot and met some amazing people. I want to share with others how to live positively with cancer, and make choices in end-of-life care. My top tip: Ask the difficult questions.

4 Responses to Let’s talk about dying

  1. Janice

    I enjoyed reading your blog. I think it’s really encouraging that you are taking a necessary but different approach to talking about cancer and the dying aspect.

    I think cancer has touched most people’s lives in one way or another. My mother had breast cancer 20 years ago and is a lucky survivor. But I have had friends who’ve lost loved ones through cancer and whilst it’s important to stay up beat when dealing with cancer, it’s also important as you say to talk about dying – because not everyone survives.

    Looking forward to reading more of your blogs.


  2. Thanks, Janice. So pleased to hear that your Mum is a survivor.

    It’s not just cancer of course; many chronically ill people and their families will have to face difficult choices.

    Lesley x.

  3. Pat Garde

    Your article was interesting and your right most people avoid you as they don’t know what to say,I lost my dad and brother to cancer at quite young ages,then my partner of 30 yrs.
    I then met someone else and guess what he got cancer I nursed him for 2yrs but unfortunately he died in november he fought very hard but lost his fight and it’s a very hard fight I find that the carer is often overlooked and they shouldn’t be they suffer through the cancer and after it.

    • Hi Pat, yes that’s exactly the way it has been for us, especially my Dad. Caring for Mom 24/7 then nothing. Heart breaking.

      Thank you so much for your comment – my best wishes to you.

      Lesley x.

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