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Millions die with dignity without choosing assisted suicide, but we rarely hear their stories

The week before the annual commemoration of the most celebrated birth in human history seems an odd time to concentrate media attention on death. But Dame Esther Rantzen, never shy, has done so. 

Dame Esther is suffering from stage four lung cancer. As she herself told the BBC’s The Today Podcast on Wednesday, her own expectations of her death have already been confounded: after her diagnosis last year, “I thought I’d fall off my perch within a couple of months, if not weeks.” Now she is undergoing a “miracle” treatment. If it does not work, however, “I might buzz off to Zurich”, by which she means the Dignitas clinic there.

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