I know this is tricky but most people are really scared when they are diagnosed. So are most of their friends and family, whatever they may say. And we all know what we are scared of. Discussing it in depth at a conference may not be the best way of helping, but perhaps just touching on it with some references to good books or websites might ‘normalise’ the feelings. It’s addressed more openly, obviously, for those with advanced cancer but that’s even more scary for those diagnosed with early breast cancer. So hard to make good decisions when your anxiety has you frozen or floundering. Women tend to suffer from death anxiety more than men, and the years when many are diagnosed are also peak for anxiety - again for obvious reasons such as children or ageing parents.
‘It is during the years of young adulthood (20 to 40 years of age) that death anxiety most often begins to become prevalent. However, during the next phase of life, the middle age adult years (40–64 years of age), death anxiety peaks at its highest levels when in comparison to all other age ranges throughout the lifespan. Surprisingly, levels of death anxiety then slump off in the old age years of adulthood (65 years of age and older). This is in contrast with most people's expectations, especially regarding all of the negative connotations younger adults have about the elderly and the aging process (Kurlychek & Trenner, 1982).’
Just a thought.