Cancer Connections

Beating Cancer in the Highlands ... This column is brought to you regularly by the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee and is first published in the Lifestyle section of the Southern Highland News. It is designed to inform everybody of matters relating to cancer in our local community and the wider society. We aim to focus on local news, forthcoming events, services and other cancer issues.

Cancer Connections - April 2018

Thursday, April 19, 2018

YWCA Encore program
Breast cancer survivors in the Southern Highlands are fortunate to have an opportunity to take part in the next YWCA Encore program which will commence in Mittagong this May. Encore is more than a free exercise and information program : it provides the opportunity for women to connect with other women who share a similar experience. The program is delivered by YWCA to women who have experienced breast cancer at any time in their life.

If you or someone you know is interested in joining the program, the next course will run on Wednesdays, from May 9th to June 27th, 1pm-3pm. For more information check out their website www.ywcaencore.org.au Registration is essential : Contact Encore’s Co-ordinator, Vicki Totsis, on 02 9285 6264 or email to encore@ywcansw.com.au


“Stars of the Highlands Dance for Cancer”
Last year’s initial event was so successful that there is great enthusiasm for the forthcoming 2018 performance. Southern Highlands identities will provide the dance entertainment for this Cancer Council fundraiser which will provide valuable support for cancer patients in our district. In 2017, proceeds provided a new car for the use of the GAPS program which sees volunteer drivers transport patients to treatment. Kelly Dinnerville, Cancer Council’s organiser, reports that the venue will again be Mittagong RSL on May 18th. Information and tickets are available at club reception and from the website : www.mittagongrsl.com.au/event/stars-of-the-southern-highlands

A Most Fitting Award
Last month I mentioned the unstinting work which Mittagong resident Joan Harrison has done for many years as the Volunteer Co-ordinator of the General and Practical Support (GAPS) program. It is therefore no surprise at all that Joan’s dedication to that task has been recognised through a prestigious Cancer Council Divisional Award for Community Engagement and Program Delivery. Such recognition is reserved only for employees and volunteers who have made an exceptional contribution over a sustained period of time.

Look Good Feel Better workshop

This valuable YWCA program returns to the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre on May 2nd . LGFB is a free community service dedicated to teaching cancer patients how to manage the appearance-related side-effects caused by cancer treatment. Participants will have a practical two-hour workshop which leaves them empowered and ready to face their cancer diagnosis with confidence. For further details, visit the LGFB webpage this website by using the QuickLink on the Left Hand Side of screen. Please note that it is important to register before the workshop.



Cancer Services Directory 2018
We have had word from Southern Highland News that the 2018 issue of our Southern Highlands Cancer Services Directory will now be published in the Friday June 15th issue of the newspaper. The A5 booklet, issued free as part of the paper’s program of special publications, will have as its focus the important topic of blood cancers.

Coming Events
• Rotary BowelCare test kits available - $15 from local pharmacies, April-May
• Bowral Women’s Bowling Club are holding their Annual Fashion Parade in support of Can Assist, Fri. April 20, 11 for 11.30am. Bookings : 48612445 or 48622695
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. April 24 RSVP Katie
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, April 25
• ‘Look Good Feel Better’ workshop, Cancer Centre, May 2
• Can Assist Meeting at BDCU Bowral, 10am, Tues. May 8
• YWCA Encore program, Mittagong, from May 9 to June 27
• “Stars of the Highlands Dance for Cancer” event, Mittagong RSL, Fri. May 18

Grahame Hackett (Chair, Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee)
0407 234 780 or info@sh-cancerconnect.com.au


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Cancer Connections - March 2018

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Patient Transport Drivers’ celebration
Mittagong RSL was the venue for a celebration provided for the volunteer drivers who take cancer patients in the Cancer Council bus up to Campbelltown and back for anything up to five days per week. The function was held to mark the 10 year anniversary of this necessary service for Wingecarribee patients being treated at the Macarthur Cancer Therapy centre. It also recognised the achievement of Terry Liebmann who has been the volunteer local co-ordinator of the drivers for all that time. Terry has now stepped down from that role and the celebration acknowledged his essential contribution. I was able to call in for part of the event and what was impressive was the large group of drivers involved, men and women, and the great spirit which clearly exists between them. Maybe this explains the striking fact that, of the 12 original volunteers, 8 of them are still taking part after 10 years. Their excellent assistance to patients has been further recognised by the fact that Cancer Council has just provided a brand new bus to replace the original one.



Pictured above are the team of bus drivers who make the system work. 

Retiring co-ordinator, Terry Liebmann, is standing 5th from the right.


Rotary BowelCare program
I have received word from BowelCare Australia that their voluntary screening program carried out under the auspices of the Rotary Club of East Gosford will be operating all through April and May this year. This means that anytime in those two months people can purchase a BowelCare test kit for $15 from local pharmacies. The price includes pathology testing, with notification of your result to both yourself and your nominated doctor. Your result will be issued within 30 days of your test kit being received by pathology. Most of our local pharmacies take part in the program and a full listing is available on the website www.bowelcare.org.au

Blood Cancer Support Group

For some time now, people who are blood cancer patients in the Southern Highlands have had support available through The Leukaemia Foundation. Part of this help involved the benefit of having a blood cancer support group which was co-ordinated by Rachael Seath. A new co-ordinator has now been appointed to that role : Snezana Djordjevic and she can be contacted at the Leukaemia Foundation’s Wollongong office on 4222 0601. Their useful website is at http://leukaemia.org.au and their email address is info@leukaemia.org.au


Cancer Services Directory 2018
On the same theme, the 2018 issue of our Southern Highlands Cancer Services Directory will have as its focus the important topic of blood cancers. A number of special articles will cover aspects of this lesser-known area of the cancer field with the lead article written by a haematologist. Our Directory will be published in May this year in an issue of the Southern Highland News as one of their Special Publications. Anyone wishing to advertise in that A5 booklet can contact the sales staff at the News office on 4861 2333.

New Co-ordinator for GAPS

A quick mention that we now have Cheryl Hinton assisting with the co-ordination of the GAPS program. Cheryl is a most welcome recruit since she provides relief for Joan Harrison who has fulfilled that role so well over so many years. You can read more about the General and Practical Support service here on this website; just go to the QuickLink on the LHS of screen. The GAPS contact number remains the same : 0428681926 M-F, 9am-5pm.


Coming Events
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. March 27 RSVP Katie
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, March 28
• Can Assist Meeting at BDCU Bowral, 10am, April 10

Grahame Hackett (Chair, Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee)
0407 234 780 or info@sh-cancerconnect.com.au


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Cancer Connections - February 2018

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Haematology services improved

Readers of this blog will know that our Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee, aided by good publicity in the Southern Highland News, has long advocated for an improvement to haematology services in our district. Having commenced our campaign way back in 2011, we can at last recognise that success has arrived. From January this year, public patients can now have a consultation with a specialist haematologist at the Cancer Centre within the Southern Highlands Private Hospital and, more importantly, public patients can now receive their treatment there as well. This is a most significant advance since previously they were required to travel to Liverpool for every treatment.


The successful outcome for uninsured patients would not have been achieved without the sustained backing of Prof Geoff Delaney, Director, Cancer Services, South West Sydney Local Health District. The initiative has also been progressed by collaboration between the Southern Highlands Private Hospital and the LHD, in particular through the work of Jenny Harper, CEO of the private hospital, and the support of Prof Stephen Della-Fiorentina, medical oncologist and member of our committee.


Can Assist fundraiser results
We are able to happily report on the most successful fundraising activity held recently by the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist. The luncheon Sunday@Centennial was planned as their major fundraiser for the year. Along with its associated auction, raffle and donations, the whole event altogether raised just over $18,000 net. With 102 guests attending, and many more having purchased raffle tickets beforehand, the result is a record boost to Can Assist’s financial position. That amount will actually cover our local branch’s expenditure in support of patients for a little over 3 months. The encouraging result is a tribute to the efforts of Can Assist’s volunteers, donors and supporters.

Patient Transport for 10 years
The Cancer Council bus which takes Southern Highlands cancer patients up to Campbelltown and back each day has now been operating for 10 years. That is an enormous achievement considering that it has been operated the whole time by volunteer drivers. To celebrate this milestone, and also to acknowledge the retirement of Terry Liebmann, who has been one of the e drivers all through those years, a function will be held at Mittagong RSL at 2.30pm on Wednesday, February 28.

Mount Kosciuszko Challenge

Walking to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko has now become an annual event for supporters of the Rare Cancers Australia charity. Each year the initiative, founded by Bowral locals Kate and Richard Vines, has seen increased numbers join in the activity. This year’s participants will be gathering at Thredbo National Park, 8.00 am Saturday, March 17, with a target of $200,000. More information on the RCA website at www.rarecancers.org.au/. For registrations, which close on March 10, go to https://www.kosichallenge.com.au



The March Charge for Cancer Council
Also on the fitness theme : The March Charge is a fun personal fitness challenge. By walking or running for Cancer Council this March, and by raising funds, you can help them Charge ahead with cancer research, prevention, advocacy and support services. You can choose to go solo or get your friends, family, or colleagues together and do it as a team – it’s up to you! For all information, visit  https://www.cancercouncil.com.au/event/the-march-charge/

Coming Events
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. Feb 27 RSVP Katie
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Wed. Feb 28
• “The March Charge” is on in March 2018. See item above.
• Can Assist Meeting at BDCU, Bowral, 10am, March 13
• Mount Kosciuszko Challenge for RCA, Sat. March 17. See item above.

Grahame Hackett (Chair, Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee)
0407 234 780 or info@sh-cancerconnect.com.au


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Cancer Connections - January 2018

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Cancer Council campaign
The campaign agenda for 2018 has now been decided by over 1000 advocacy volunteers for Cancer Council NSW. The CanAct volunteers have chosen five major issues to focus on during this year and leading up to the State election next year. They will be campaigning to :

   • support people with lymphoedema

   • protect the community from tobacco

   • improve access to medical cannabis

   • protect our kids from junk food marketing

   • employ more Aboriginal workers in cancer services.

In the past, campaigns by CanAct members have achieved much to reduce cancer rates and improve outcomes for patients, most recently seen with the success in gaining additional funding for palliative care in the 2017 Budget. More will be heard about these issues when action gets underway in the coming months.

Sunday @ Centennial

This catchy title is to promote the forthcoming Can Assist Luncheon to be held at Centennial Vineyards restaurant on Sunday, February 11th. With welcome drinks at noon followed by the 3 course lunch commencing at 1pm, entertainment by Johnny Spitz, and Dr Riton Das as the guest speaker, the afternoon promises to be another great fundraiser for our local cancer charity. Tickets can be purchased by contacting Aurelia on 0474647506 or by email to aurelia@ozemail.com.au The event is being held in conjunction with a raffle offering fabulous prizes. All profits go to Can Assist Southern Highlands. Full details are given on the Latest News & Events column on this website.


New Research into Bowel Cancer
Bowel cancer is the second most common cancer in Australia, with approximately 17,000 new cases diagnosed last year. Women have a 1 in 15 chance of getting bowel cancer in their lifetime, while men have a 1 in 10 chance. The survival rate has only slightly increased to 67% in the last decade. That’s why it is essential that research is directed into the prevention and treatment of bowel cancer.

Cancer Council NSW committed funding of $360,000 in 2016 to the Valerie Enid Legge Project Grant led by Professor Xu Dong Zhang at the University of Newcastle. Prof Zhang has made an important discovery : that a certain protein is linked to the development of advanced bowel cancer. His team has found that blocking this protein has the potential to slow down the growth of the cancer cells. This finding represents a big step towards creating personalised bowel cancer therapies that are effective in treating the disease at the molecular level.

Mount Kosciuszko Challeng 2018
Rare Cancers Australia will again be holding their exciting climb from Thredbo to the summit. This year's event (the 6th) will take place on Saturday, March 17. Last year's climb raised over $140,000 to help patients with rare or less common cancers. Full details are on the RCA website at https://www.kosichallenge.com.au

Coming Events
• Can Assist fundraiser lunch “Sunday @ Centennial”, February 11th. See item above.
• Can Assist meets on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. Next meeting will be at BDCU, Bowral, 10am Feb 13
• Southern Highlands Cancer Centre Support Group will not meet in January. Next meeting 10am, Tues. Feb 27, RSVP Katie
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Wed. Feb 28
* Mount Kosciuszko Challenge for Rare Cancers Australia, Sat. March 17
• “The March Charge” is on in 2018. See Cancer Council NSW website for details.

Grahame Hackett (Chair, Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee)
0407 234 780 or info@sh-cancerconnect.com.au


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Cancer Connections - December 2017

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Donation from Oxley College students
A substantial donation of around $800 has been made by students from Oxley College to the high-profile local charity Can Assist. The funds will go towards their special account “Can Assist Families” which is solely dedicated to channelling support to those families where a member - whether a parent or a child - is affected by cancer. Students and their parents contributed generously again this year as they did previously in 2016. Can Assist’s financial help for families has a particular focus where a parent is a cancer patient unable to work yet still supporting young children. So we can say “Well done” to all those involved at Oxley : students, parents and staff.

Prostate cancer research results
Researchers at Cancer Council NSW have shed light on factors that contribute to a risk of prostate cancer which is one of the most common cancers in Australian men. One in five males can develop the disease before the age of 85. The study carried out during 2016-17 identified those factors that appear to double the risk, such as : having a father with a history of prostate cancer; a previous diagnosis of prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland) or benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlargement of the prostate); and the number of sexual partners in a lifetime. Being overweight or obese was also associated with increased risk but to a lesser extent. No association was found between prostate cancer and certain suspected risk factors such as circumcision, vasectomy, vertex balding, erectile function, acne, asthma or diabetes.

Men’s Health month
Another successful round of four sessions was held throughout November with local medical practitioners giving up their time to inform us about their special fields. Put together again by Tom Carroll, Peter van Dort, and the team from WHAM, these evening forums have been very well presented and extremely educational for men and for women too. Many thanks to all concerned : presenters and organisers.

Cancer Services Directory 2018
Current indications are that next year’s issue of our annual Directory will be published a little later, probably in May.

Season’s wishes
At this time of the year, as we prepare to celebrate all our blessings with family and friends, it is well to remember that there are those in our community who are less favoured. Fortunately there are so many in the Southern Highlands district who continually help to earn our reputation for generosity to others, whether by giving financially or by making the time to volunteer. To all those of generous heart, our committee sends a genuine “Thank You” and sincere good wishes for the coming season.

Coming Events
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group will not meet in December or January.
• Can Assist will not meet in January.
• Can Assist fundraiser “Sunday @Centennial”, February 11th. See full details in the News & Events section of this website.
• Next Can Assist meeting will be at BDCU, Bowral, 10am February 13th.
• Next meeting of the Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. Feb. 27.

Grahame Hackett (Chair, Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee)
0407 234 780 or info@sh-cancerconnect.com.au


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Cancer Connections - November 2017

Saturday, November 18, 2017

“Murder can help patients”
A capacity audience at New Empire Cinemas on Nov. 9th watched the new movie version of "Murder on the Orient Express", directed by Kenneth Branagh. The event was a most successful fundraiser for the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist and all attending were treated to a quality adaptation of the familiar classic. This version was helped greatly by a fantastic cast of murderers. (Among so many fine performances, I was particularly impressed by Michelle Pfeiffer’s and would not be surprised if she gets an Academy nomination for best supporting actress). The venture received marvellous support from the Cinema’s owners, from Films in the Southern Highlands (FISH), along with the generous donors of prizes and of course all those folk who attended. Secretary Terry Hughes has announced that over $6,000 was raised on the night. WOW ! This great result would not have been possible without the smooth organisation by Aurelia Grigore-Reid and her army of volunteers from Can Assist who do so much for cancer patients in our district.


Portacatheter insertion issue

Readers of this column would know that our committee has been pushing for a local solution to the problem of public patients having to travel all the way to Concord Hospital for the insertion of a portacatheter. At the recent Annual Public Meeting of the South Western Sydney Local Health District, I took up the matter with the LHD Chief Executive, Amanda Larkin. After expressing her surprise and disappointment that cancer patients were having to make that out-of-area journey, the CE promptly undertook to further investigate this matter. The full facts have now been conveyed to Ms Larkin, along with the details on what progress we have currently made in pressing the issue.  

I shall report on whether an acceptable solution is arrived at.



Killing liver cancer cells
Cancer Council Research reports : Australia has witnessed a significant rise in liver cancer rates in recent years, and this trend is expected to continue over the next few decades. Sadly, the chance of a person with liver cancer surviving for 5 years or more is just 16%, and this is largely because the cancer is able to resist current therapies. Professor Christopher Liddle from the University of Sydney has found that there is a group of cells in liver tumours called cancer stem cells. These cells initiate cancer growth and contribute to the spread of the tumour. Current therapies are not able to target these cells, explaining why liver cancers are so unresponsive to treatment. Christopher and his team have developed two agents that can seek out and bind to the liver cancer stem cells and kill them. The researchers are now testing the effectiveness of these agents in the lab to see just how powerful their anti-cancer capability is. Once the team proves the agents are successful, this will lay the foundation for clinical trials.

Reminders of events :
• The series of Men’s Health seminars proceeds this November, organised by Tom Carroll and WHAM. These information sessions are held at 6pm sharp every Tuesday in St Jude’s Auditorium, Bowral. For the full program, visit the ‘News & Events’ section of this website or call Tom on 0419482208.
• Cancer Council continues its series of webinars. (These are online seminars which you can watch on your computer or mobile device on the night or later at your convenience.) The next topic is “Men’s Psycho-social needs : What support do men need after cancer ?” on Nov. 30. Visit the Cancer Council website www.cancercouncil.com.au for full details.

Coming Events
• Men’s Health Forum continues this November, every Tuesday; see item above.
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Nov 22.
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. Nov. 28 RSVP Katie
• Can Assist Meeting at BDCU, Bowral, 10am December 12

Grahame Hackett (Chair, Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee)
0407 234 780 or info@sh-cancerconnect.com.au



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Cancer Connections - October 2017

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Movie Night Mystery
"Murder on the Orient Express" has been remade as a movie in 2017. And what a fabulous cast this version has : Dench, Branagh, Cruz, Jacobi, Depp, Dafoe, Pfeiffer, and more. To cap off the star cast, Kenneth Branagh is the film's director as well. So it’s a must-see film in its own right and one to compare if you have seen earlier versions of this famous Agatha Christie mystery. The movie night will be another enjoyable fundraiser for the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist. The screening will be at the New Empire Cinemas, of course, who are great supporters of Can Assist. This special early release will be on Thursday, November 9th; arrive 6pm for 6.30. Tickets are $25 each, which also includes light refreshments, and they are available at the cinema or from Aurelia Grigore-Reid, who has organised the event. Can Assist are greatly helped by FISH (the Films in the Southern Highlands club) who have once again donated the entire cost of the distributor's fee.

Can Assist’s help to the community
The generous nature of Southern Highlands people has maintained the great work of Can Assist in supporting cancer patients in this community over the last 57 years. All donations to the volunteer organisation go to help with the costs of cancer treatment which can be a real burden for some families. Our local branch currently has 150 patients on their books, of whom upwards of 70 would require some help in any one month. Already in this financial year, the branch has spent $18,000 in patient support and that is for three months only. The biggest single item, of course, is the help given with pharmaceutical bills, but assistance is also available to Wingecarribee cancer patients for transport, accommodation and equipment costs where these are required.

More news :

• Tom Carroll and WHAM have put together another round of the successful Men’s Health Forum for this November. These information sessions will be held at 6pm sharp every Tuesday starting on Nov. 7th and will again be held in St Jude’s Auditorium. For the full program, visit the ‘News & Events’ section of this website or call Tom on 0419482208.

• With the NSW Government’s extra funding for palliative care now coming through, we have learned that a palliative care nurse has been appointed (full-time) to Bowral and District Hospital.
• The Fashion Parade held recently at Pepperfield raised $5,000 for the Cancer Centre Trust Fund.
• Cancer Council has planned a series of webinars. (These are online seminars which you can watch on your computer or mobile device on the night or later at your convenience.) The next two topics are “Breast Reconstruction : What are the pros and cons ?” Oct. 26; and “Men’s Psycho-social needs : What support do men need after cancer ?” Nov. 30. Visit the Cancer Council website for full details.

Coming Events
• October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
• Girls’ Night In for the month of Pink – check on local happenings
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. Oct. 24 RSVP Katie
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Oct. 25
• National Bandanna Day for CanTeen, Oct 27
• RCA function Sick or Treat Charity Ball, Sydney, Oct. 27.

• Men’s Health Forum returns this November, every Tuesday. See the item in our 'News & Events' section of this website..

• Movie Night fundraiser for Can Assist : “Murder on the Orient Express”, New Empire cinema, Nov. 9; see item above.
• Can Assist Meeting at BDCU, Bowral, 10am November 14

Grahame Hackett (Chair, Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee)
0407 234 780 or info@sh-cancerconnect.com.au



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Cancer Connections - September 2017

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Portacath insertion issue
Our committee has been seeking an improvement in the provision of Portacath devices to uninsured patients so they will no longer have to travel to Concord Hospital for the insertion. We had asked for the brief operation to be performed at Bowral & District Hospital and were advised back in July that the issue was currently under discussion. No definite answer has been received yet, but one possible option is that, if Campbelltown Hospital were to be approved for vascular surgery, then public patients from the Southern Highlands might be able to have the device inserted there. Still a journey, but certainly a shorter one than to Concord and back. More information when it comes to hand.






Pictured at Springetts Arcade (L to R)  : Deb Wrigley, Christine Graham, Jonathon & Miranda Hassett


Daffodil Day well supported
Once again this August the volunteers of the Wingecarribee turned out on Daffodil Day to help collect funds for Cancer Council NSW. There were stalls set up at Mittagong’s Highlands Marketplace and at Springetts Arcade and Coles Supermarket in Bowral, offering a range of merchandise from beautiful bunches of fresh daffodils, to the badges, pens, keyrings and toy bears which carry the brand. At the Springetts stall, I met Team Leader Christine Graham, assisted by Deb Wrigley and Miranda & Jonathon Hassett. Christine had commenced her role last year when she took over from the well-known John Sider. Over at Coles, Lauren McDonald was fully in charge of the table for her 11th year ! Through the generous support of Southern Highlands residents, the contributions raised will go towards the many avenues by which Cancer Council assists those with a cancer diagnosis. The latest form of that help to our own locals is the new car purchased for the sole use by GAPS volunteers to transport Wingecarribee cancer patients.


Pictured at Coles Supermarket : Lauren McDonald



















10 years and going strong

Members of the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee were a little surprised when I pointed out recently that we had just passed the 10-year milestone for the volunteer group. Back in 2007 a small band of like-minded people came together to see what could be done to improve services for local cancer patients. A great boost came when Cancer Council NSW used some of the funds from Relay for Life to provide a bus to take patients to Campbelltown and back for their treatment. The bus still runs today, five days a week, manned by volunteer drivers. Since then, the committee has gone on to provide the material for the annual Cancer Services Directory, now in its 9th year, and for this regular monthly column, both supported by Southern Highland News. These two initiatives are to inform people about patient services available in our district : for transport, accommodation, legal and financial help, along with programs to assist after cancer surgery. That led naturally to the committee starting its own website to put all the information online. Which brought about this website : Southern Highlands Cancer Connect, now in its 7th year of operation.


During those 10 years, our committee has called for improved services in palliative care, haematology, and portacatheter insertion, and supported the limits placed on smoking tobacco in public places. We have helped in the formation and operation of the GAPS service. Currently we channel donations through to local cancer charities, promote various fundraisers, and work closely with local Can Assist and numerous cancer support groups. These are achievements of which we can be modestly proud and I thank all committee members, past and present.

Coming Events
• Bright Pink Lipstick Day for awareness of hereditary breast & ovarian cancer, Sept 22
• Blue September is raising awareness of cancers affecting men.
• Can Assist event : A “Secret Garden Party” in Bowral, 3-6pm, Sunday Sept 24
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. Sept. 26 RSVP Katie
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Sept. Sept. 27
• October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
• “Light the Night” for Leukaemia Foundation, Bradman Oval, 5.30-8.30pm Oct. 6
• Can Assist Meeting 10am October 10th at BDCU, Bowral
* YWCA Encore program will be conducted from Oct. 11th to Nov. 29th. Contact Susie 0419 221 433. 
      For details of the program, see the webpage under the "Local Services" tab above.
• National Bandanna Day for CanTeen, Oct 27
• RCA function Sick or Treat Charity Ball, Sydney, Oct. 27.
* Great movie night : "Murder on the Orient Express" - a fundraiser for Can Assist at the New Empire Cinemas, 6 for 5.30pm on Nov. 9th. See all the details in our 'News & Events' column

Grahame Hackett (Chair, Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee)
0407 234 780 or info@sh-cancerconnect.com.au




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Cancer Connections - August 2017

Thursday, August 17, 2017

“The Thing About Cancer”

A new series of podcasts has been launched by Cancer Council NSW and designed for people affected by cancer, including carers, families and friends of those living with cancer. Rather than explain about all the various kinds of cancer – which are already fully covered in their well-established “Understanding” series of booklets – the podcasts focus on 10 key areas for people affected by a cancer diagnosis. Topics include : How to help someone with cancer; Managing cancer fatigue; Appetite loss and nausea; and Explaining cancer to kids. Hosted by radio broadcaster and cancer survivor, Julie McCrossin, the ten informative podcasts can be heard online from the web at https://www.cancercouncil.com.au/podcasts/ or they can be downloaded from iTunes to your computer, tablet or smartphone and listened to at anytime.


Daffodil Day is Friday, August 25th
Volunteers will be out again this Daffodil Day to show that the work of organisations like the Cancer Council gives HOPE to so many. Hope that the causes of this disease will be better understood; hope that improved methods of treatment will result from all the research being undertaken; and hope that flows from knowing how much support there is out there in the community. Purchase a daffodil, a badge, a pen, or other merchandise on the day, or simply make a donation, and you are giving hope to cancer patients across NSW. And if you can spare the time to help out by volunteering to collect on that Friday, please contact Cancer Council on 4223 0200. Every daffodil and every donation grows hope.







Word of a “Secret Garden Party”
The hard-working volunteers at Can Assist Southern Highlands are currently spreading the word about what they have called a Secret Garden Party coming up on Sunday September 24th from 3 to 6 pm. Working on the kind offer of a local resident to make a private garden available, they have put together an inviting event for the spring season. (It’s not really a secret : once you purchase a ticket, the address for the location of the garden will be shown on the ticket.) The entry price of $55 will cover all food, drinks, entertainment, and the tour of the garden. It is important to emphasise that all funds raised from this event will go to the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist. For tickets and further information you can contact Margaret on 4861 2347 or Merrillyn 0403 620 777.

“Light the Night” event
On October 6th from 5.30-8.30pm this Leukaemia Foundation event will be held at Bradman Oval, Bowral. 
Today another 35 people will be told they have blood cancer. Be the light in their darkest hour at this inspiring twilight event.
Now in its tenth year, Light the Night is a unique fundraising event bringing Australia’s blood cancer community together in more than 140 locations to remember and reflect during a moving ceremony and short lantern walk. Those attending raise money beforehand to help give local families facing blood cancer the emotional and practical support that will light the way forward. Light the Night fundraisers all receive a coloured lantern to carry as darkness falls and celebrate what they’ve achieved to help people with blood cancer. Last year, more than 35,000 people from every Australian state and territory attended a Light the Night.

To register or find out more, go to www.lightthenight.org.au or ring 1800 500 088.


Facts do help
With the sudden news of a cancer diagnosis, we don’t always know where we stand. For some people, it soon creates real financial hardship, especially where one cannot continue in paid employment. For others, it may even raise legal or workplace issues : for instance “What exactly are my rights in this situation ?” To provide sound guidance for cancer patients facing questions like these, Cancer Council NSW has a number of booklets and fact sheets available. They cover relevant topics like your finances and your rights, dealing with debts, superannuation, and work-related cancers. You can download any of more than a dozen of these from the website at www.cancercouncil.com.au and just do a search for “Legal and financial issues fact sheets”.

Coming Events

• RCA event : “Passion on the Field” at Randwick Racecourse, Aug 19
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. Aug 22 RSVP Katie
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Wed. Aug 23
• Daffodil Day, Friday August 25
• Blue September is to raise awareness of all cancers affecting men
• Can Assist Meeting, 10am Sept 12 at BDCU, Bowral.
* R U OK Day will be on Thursday, Sept 14
• Can Assist event : A “Secret Garden Party” in Bowral, 3-6pm, Sunday Sept 24
• “Light the Night” for Leukaemia Foundation, Bradman Oval, 5.30-8.30pm Oct. 6.
• RCA function : Sick or Treat Charity Ball, Sydney, Oct. 27. Visit RCA website.

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)
0407 234 780 or info@sh-cancerconnect.com.au


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Cancer Connections - July 2017

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Travelling for Portacath
Patients requiring the insertion of a Portacath device for the administration of their cancer treatment can have this done easily here in the Southern Highlands - that is, provided they have private health insurance. But you may not know that Highlands patients without health insurance need to travel to either Liverpool or Concord Hospitals to have this done, as public patients. We are told that Liverpool continues to have a 10-week waiting list, so that it usually means a journey to Concord, although the actual operation can be done within about 30 minutes. Quite frequently, these patients require transport to Concord and back by our GAPS service (General and Practical Support) which is staffed by our local volunteers. Obviously it is a lengthy journey for a person undergoing treatment.

If an operating theatre at Bowral & District Hospital were to be made available for those times at which a public patient needed the insertion, we know that there are local doctors who would be willing to perform the operation here in the Highlands. (For this to happen, Bowral & District would need to be accredited for vascular surgery.) We have been advised by the Hospital’s General Manager that the portacath issue is “currently under discussion” and our committee will continue to pursue a solution.


Cancer Council car helps to fill some GAPS

Last month I reported that Cancer Council NSW have provided a new car for the use of those GAPS drivers mentioned above. It means that, each day, one volunteer can leave his own car at home and instead take the Toyota RAV4 with its Cancer Council logo. That car has certainly been at work : already it has covered 3000km in its first 3 weeks of operation. While on the statistics, I can say that, in total during 2016-17, the GAPS volunteer drivers transported 417 passengers over 816 trips covering 37,000 km to treatment, appointments etc. In the same period, our other volunteer service, the Cancer Council Patient Transport Bus - taking cancer patients to Campbelltown for radiation treatment - transported 718 passengers over 1,400 trips and travelled 40,000km. Truly amazing support from local people. Any Southern Highlands men or women interested in volunteering as a driver are asked to contact Sally Lewis at Cancer Council's Wollongong office, 4223 0205.


Rare Cancers Australia

At our July meeting, our committee member, Richard Vines, a Director of Rare Cancers Australia, reported on a number of his organisation’s recent achievements. These include successfully applying for a drug to be listed on the PBS for use with rare cancer patients, launching a national database to identify specialist clinicians who have expertise in particular forms of rare and less common cancer, and developing close working relationships with the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, pharmaceutical companies and the Peter MacCallum Institute. RCA has also been involved in upgrading their successful app for cancer patients called CAN.recall which has now been translated into Mandarin as well. For this and more information about the work of Rare Cancers Australia, visit their website at www.rarecancers.org.au/


Coming Events
• July is Dry July
• PAWS Pet Therapy function, Centennial Vineyards, July 22, 5-10pm.
PAWS Pet Therapy volunteers needed : ring Sharon Stewart 46810499
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. July 25 RSVP Katie
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Wed. July 26
• Jeans for Genes Day in aid of Children's Medical Research Institute, August 5
• Dying to Know Day for end-of-life planning, August 8

• RCA CanForum in Canberra, August 9. See RCA website www.rarecancers.org.au/

• Can Assist Annual Branch Meeting, 10am August 8 at BDCU, Bowral.
• RCA event : “Passion on the Field”, Randwick Racecourse, August 19
• Daffodil Day, Friday August 25

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)
0407 234 780 or info@sh-cancerconnect.com.au


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