Creating an openness around death and dying

Through surveys and interviews, and following in Woody Allen's footsteps, Macmillan Cancer Support want to highlight the importance of discussing death and dying with family and friends.

Comedian and film-maker Woody Allen once said: ‘I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve immortality through not dying.’

Mortality is a recurring theme in Allen’s films and his characters sometimes talk extensively about their fears of death and dying. However, in real life most of us are reluctant to discuss death.

Macmillan Cancer Support (MCS) identified this as an issue after studying people’s attitudes to death and dying through surveys and interviews. One general public survey had 1,786 respondents, while another was people with a previous cancer diagnosis and had 1,878 respondents. The interviews were with health professionals and people living with terminal cancer.

Approximately 35% of people with cancer who said they had thoughts and feelings about their death had not shared


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