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The Forbidden Topic

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About Us - Dr Colin Dicks

Dr. Colin Dicks

MBChB, FRANZCR, MBA, MSc Palliative Medicine.
February 20, 2022

The Forbidden Topic

The Forbidden Topic: I had the opportunity to speak to a prostate cancer support group in the week and as part of my discussion brought up the topic of death and dying. It is not unreasonable to discuss palliative treatment in the setting of advanced cancer or even terminal care, but don’t mention the “D-word”!

In a separate group discussion, it was interesting to note the use of the term ”transition” instead of dying. We can accept the possibility of moving on or passing on or finding rest, but not the term dying. Why do you think this is the case? Is dying just too difficult to digest?

What Do You Think About The Forbidden Topic?

When you think about dying what thoughts do you have? If I consider the examples in nature, dying suggests finality. The dead tree in the garden, the dead pet, the dead grandparent.

What is the forbidden topic mean to you? Send us a message We’d love to hear from you!


When it comes to dying, we can never be too prepared. Death has a way of being permanent and anything left undone remains undone. There is a lot to do, but don’t get overwhelmed. Make a list of things that need to be done or organised, and use our tool to help make sure you’ve got it all covered.


When it comes to death and dying, expressing your views via legally supported documentation is essential. Usually, these legal documents take the form of testaments and wills, a power of attorney, estate planning and other matters your lawyer may consider. Whatever you do, try to avoid doing it yourself as it won’t survive if the vultures come, as they do, after death. Money spent on good legal documents and advice turns out to be cheap in comparison to drawn-out court cases when someone contests a will.

Estate Planning & Financial Matters

Even though you cannot take it with you when you die, you do want to ensure that your assets are protected. Seeking financial advice about estate planning before dying is essential. Why pay unnecessary tax and fees if you can avoid it. Seeking professional help to ensure your estate and other assets are safe and directed where you want, is of utmost importance for both you and your family or friends.


Stay in control even when you are not. When your health is fading, and death is nearer, medical care will undoubtedly increase and your wishes associated with this care are important.

Important things to consider to support the dying process are advanced directives, resuscitation instructions and, most importantly, exploring the benefits of palliative care. It’s important, for living and for dying, to be informed.

Funerals and Cremations

After death comes the funeral or the farewell. Most people think of funerals or cremations negatively. They are not bad, they are events that play an essential function in society and are an important part in the dying process in that they honour the life lived, deal with grief and, most importantly, dispose of the deceased body.

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