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 - 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
• National Bandanna Day for CanTeen, Oct 27
• RCA function Sick or Treat Charity Ball, Sydney, Oct. 27.

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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Cancer Connections - June 2017

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

“Connecting the Future” seminar success

This event was organised for Palliative Care Week by the Southern Highlands Community Hospice committee. Speakers included Dr Yvonne McMaster OAM, the retired palliative care specialist who initiated the “Push for Palliative” campaign, and Jane Mahony, a local senior nurse consultant in the field. An audience numbering about 80 heard informative presentations from both and later gained an insight into current planning for the hospice building to be constructed in Bowral. The draft drawings for the building were on display and stimulated much discussion.

Visit of the Premier to Bowral
June 6 saw the visit by Premier Gladys Berejiklian to the Southern Highlands. A public meeting of 200 locals was hosted by Wollondilly MP Jai Rowell at the Bradman Museum and provided an opportunity for the Premier to speak personally about how she saw her role and to tell us how much she admired all the community work going on in our district.
As I had hoped, I did have an opportunity, after the formal items were over, to speak with the Premier as she mingled. Naturally I wanted to raise the issue of greater resources for palliative care and briefly touched on the main points why this was badly needed. The Premier clearly understands the reasons anyway and nodded as I spoke before she promptly replied : “Grahame, watch this space”.

Announcement on palliative care
Our Cancer Leadership Committee members certainly did “watch this space” and were soon able to see that Gladys had kept her word. On Monday June 12 the NSW Government announced that a record $100 million would be spent over the next four years to increase palliative care services. Out of the numerous benefits which will flow from this extra funding I will just select one : this will mean a much needed improvement in the provision of palliative care throughout regional and rural NSW, areas which have been substantially less well serviced so far. So there is some cause for a sense of achievement among all those who supported this issue : volunteers for Cancer Council NSW; those who “signed the pledge”; those who backed Dr McMaster’s campaign; and ultimately those State MPs from all parties who saw there must be a better way to care for people with a life-limiting illness.
For the latest details on what the Government has announced, please go to our 'News & Events' tab above for the item "Premier's visit to Bowral".



New Car for GAPS drivers !
Here’s a big boost to our free GAPS service to cancer patients – the one which sees those dedicated volunteers driving cancer patients to consultations and treatment and using their own cars to do it. Cancer Council NSW have come good on their promise to provide GAPS drivers with a brand new car. From now on, the “first cab off the rank” you will see transporting a patient – and sometimes the trips are to Liverpool or Concord and back – will be the Toyota RAV4 with its Cancer Council logo. Here is another way in which our community benefits directly from raising funds at events like “Relay for Life” and the hugely successful “Dance for Cancer”.



PAWS Pet Therapy celebration

A dinner will be held by the PAWS Pet Therapy enthusiasts on Saturday July 22 at Centennial Vineyards. Details are on this website under the News & Events tab. This is an innovative organisation of dog owners who take their beautiful pets into hospitals and nursing homes to bring cheer to so many. They can always accommodate more pet lovers so if you and your dog can volunteer, ring Sharon Stewart on 4681 0499.


Coming Events
• June is Bowel Cancer Awareness month
• July is Dry July

• Can Assist meeting Tuesday, July 11, 10am at BDCU, Bowral

• PAWS Pet Therapy function, Centennial Vineyards, July 22, 5-10pm. Details above.
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. July 25 RSVP Katie on 4862 9400
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Wed. July 26

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


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Cancer Connections - May 2017

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Cancer Services Directory 2017 now available

Did you miss out on a copy of this year’s Directory ? Don’t worry. A hard copy of the booklet can be obtained from the Cancer Centre within the Southern Highlands Private Hospital. As was done last year, the booklet also can be flipped to the other end to give a copy of the Health Guide as well. So, two for one. Our theme for this issue of the Directory is the important topic of palliative care with a number of articles specially written for the theme. You will also find information there about the efforts being made across the state to increase the resources allocated to this field. For those who like to access information online, our Directory is now also available as a Fairfax special publication. You will find a link to it on the Directory page of this website or it can be viewed at the Fairfax site : click here  


‘I Care for Palliative Care’ meeting 
Over 50 people attended the Bowral ‘I Care for Palliative Care’ meeting which was convened by Margaret Mogg. Those present heard from Jane Mahony, a local palliative care nurse now in private practice, who explained palliative care and how important it is. Carolyn Grenville from Cancer Council’s Sydney office outlined what the campaign was about and why NSW needs more specialist doctors and specialist nurses in the palliative care field and culturally appropriate Aboriginal services. Matt Aiken, a local resident, spoke movingly of the help he and his wife received from LHD palliative care staff when his wife had terminal breast cancer. Many more pledges of support for palliative care were signed on the day. The MP for Wollondilly, Jai Rowell, was unwell and could not attend but the call for more resources in this field has been conveyed to him. The link to the video clip that was shown at the meeting is www.canact.com.au/palliativecare

“Connecting the Future” seminar

Again on the same theme, this event has been organised for Palliative Care Week (May 21-27) by the Southern Highlands Community Hospice committee. Speakers will include Dr Yvonne McMaster OAM, retired palliative care specialist, and Jane Mahony, a senior nurse consultant, Palliative and Aged Care Consultancy Services. The venue will be St Jude’s Auditorium, Bendooley Street, Bowral, and it takes place on Tuesday, May 23, 9.30am-12pm. Entry is free but book, for catering purposes, at one of the Hospice shops or online at www.shchospice.org.au/news


Coming Events
• Dance for Cancer, Mittagong RSL, 6-11.45pm, May 19. Tickets must be purchased at the Club or by calling 4872 6700.
• National Palliative Care Week will be May 21-27.

• “Connecting the Future” Palliative Care Week forum, St Jude’s, 9.30am-12pm, May 23

• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group meet at SH Private Hospital, 10-11.30 am, Tues. May 23. RSVP Katie on 4862 9400
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Wed. May 24
• Biggest Morning Tea (BMT) will be held on Thurs. May 25 or other dates nearby
• Southern Highlands Cancer Centre’s BMT is Fri. May 26, 10am-2pm
• World No Tobacco Day is always May 31
• June is Bowel Cancer Awareness month

• Can Assist meeting June 13th, 10am. Note new venue : BDCU, Bong Bong St, Bowral.


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


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Cancer Connections - March-April 2017

Thursday, March 16, 2017

New Breast Cancer Clinical Trial
Just received word of a new breast cancer clinical trial : the PALLAS study, co-ordinated by the ANZ Breast Cancer Trials Group, is now open at the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre. The study is testing a new drug, Palbociclib, added to standard antihormone tablets in early stage breast cancer within 6 months of starting antihormone medications. If you feel this is relevant to you, you can contact the Cancer Centre for more information 4862 9470.

Cancer Services Directory 2017
Each year the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee provides the text for the Cancer Services Directory which is published by Southern Highland News as a free special booklet. The theme for this year’s issue will be palliative care. This is certainly a topical issue right now here in the Southern Highlands, as it is across NSW, so it is timely that we inform readers about the role of palliative care. Our Directory will be published in the issue of the Southern Highland News on Wednesday, April 26th. The News will also give notice of that date as it draws near.      

Public meeting for Palliative Care, May 5th
A meeting will be held in May to provide up-to-date information about palliative care – what it is, what services are currently available, and how those services could be improved. There will also be a promotion of the “I care for Palliative Care” pledge which aims to highlight the need for increased resources in this area. The meeting will be open to the public and will be held on May 5th from 10.30 am to 12 noon in the Henrietta Rose Room, Bendooley Street, Bowral, opposite the Library building. Light refreshments will be served. Anyone interested in finding out about palliative care is urged to attend and show support for the call for greater resources. For further information, please see the new item listed under the News & Events tab above.  

PEACH program
Readers of this column may remember that last November I reported on the PEACH program. This stands for Palliative Extended Aged Care in the Home and the PEACH packages are designed to provide clinical care and support for people who wish to die at home or remain at home for as long as possible. To qualify, the patient needs to be assessed as eligible and to have a carer living with them. 
We find, however, that it needs to be made clear that this program is free to patients. The quality of the PEACH packages delivered by the Silver Chain Nursing Service is so high that one could be forgiven for thinking they come at considerable cost to each person but, in fact, we should emphasise that there is no charge.

Can Assist to meet at BDCU
A reminder that monthly meetings of Can Assist Southern Highlands branch are now held at the BDCU Alliance Bank, 411 Bong Bong Street, Bowral. Many thanks to BDCU for once again demonstrating its exceptional commitment to supporting members of its local community.

Coming Events

• Mount Kosciuszko Challenge, March 18. A fundraiser by Rare Cancers Australia, this involves a climb from Thredbo to the summit. To register, visit  www.rarecancers.org.au

• Feel the March Charge. Walk or run, solo or team, for Cancer Council this March. See www.themarchcharge.com.au

• Melanoma March – for details, visit website for Melanoma Institute.
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Wed. March 22
• Lynch Syndrome Awareness Day, March 22
• “Bounce Forward” program at SH Private Hospital, March 25-26. For information or a booking, contact Jo Pearson, Nursing Unit Manager, Cancer Centre 4862 9472.
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group meet at SH Private Hospital, 10-11.30 am, Tues. March 28. RSVP Katie on 4862 9469.
• Can Assist meeting 10am, April 13. Note new venue : BDCU, Bong Bong St, Bowral
* Cancer Services Directory published in Southern Highland News on Wed. April 19
• Palliative Care public meeting, Henrietta Rose Room, Bowral, 10.30 to 12 noon, May 5.
• National Palliative Care Week will be May 21-27.

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


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Cancer Connections - February 2017

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Cancer Services Directory 2017
Each year the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee provides the text for the Cancer Services Directory which is published by Southern Highland News as a free special booklet. This year’s issue will be the 9th edition of the Directory and its theme will be aspects of palliative care. This is certainly a topical issue right now here in the Southern Highlands, as it is across NSW, so it is timely that we inform readers about the role of palliative care for cancer patients. The March edition of this column (on the 3rd Wednesday of the month) will indicate the actual date on which the issue of Southern Highland News will carry the booklet.

Committee consulted for Cancer Plan
At the February meeting of our committee we were pleased to welcome Leah D’Souza who came to consult with us about cancer issues. Leah is the consultant working with staff from NSW Health to develop a new Cancer Plan for the South Western Sydney Local Health District. The District stretches from Bankstown and Fairfield in the north across seven LGAs to Wingecarribee in the south and contains a population of about 820,000. It was an indication of the standing achieved by the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee as a community-based consultative body that our input was sought on a range of issues affecting cancer patients and their treatment. The Cancer Plan will be the means by which the Local Health District will focus and prioritise its efforts to improve its range of cancer services.

Can Assist to meet at BDCU
Those who attend the monthly meetings of the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist will now have a new venue for all future meetings. The branch, which previously met at the old Bowral Hospital, has now accepted the generous offer from the BDCU Alliance Bank for the use of one of their rooms for its meetings. 
Many thanks to BDCU – we all know the building at 411 Bong Bong Street, Bowral – for once again demonstrating its exceptional commitment to providing support to members of its local community.

Healthy Lifestyle Program
Coming this year : a free program from Cancer Council NSW for cancer survivors, carers, partners and family. The face-to-face group sessions will be facilitated by a dietitian and exercise physiologist and involve 2 hours per week for 8 weeks.

A course will be held at Narellan in the Macarthur region on Saturdays, commencing on Feb. 11th, from 10am-12 noon.
For full details and the schedule of where all sessions will be held, visit the Cancer Council NSW website at https://www.cancercouncil.com.au/enrich/ 
Reservations are essential; telephone 1300 360 541 or email enrich@nswcc.org.au

Coming Events
• February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month; Teal Ribbon Day will be on Feb. 24
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Wed. Feb. 22
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group meet at SH Private Hospital, 10-11.30 am, Tues. Feb. 28. RSVP to Katie on 4862 9469.
• Feel the March Charge. Walk or run, solo or team, for Cancer Council this March. See www.themarchcharge.com.au
• Can Assist meeting March. 9, 10am. Note new venue : BDCU, Bong Bong St, Bowral
• Mount Kosciuszko Challenge, March 18. A fundraiser by Rare Cancers Australia, this involves a climb from Thredbo to the summit. To register, visit www.rarecancers.org.au
• “Bounce Forward” program at SH Private Hospital, March 25-26. For information or a booking, contact Jo Pearson, Nursing Unit Manager, Cancer Centre 4862 9472.

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


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Cancer Connections - January 2017

Monday, January 23, 2017

Southern Highlands Cancer Centre Trust Fund

The Trust Fund has recently made two substantial donations, both of which will greatly assist patients, their carers and families. $15,000 has been allocated for respite for carers, to be used by the Community Palliative Care team, and $5,000 goes to the Peter Coupland Fund, which is administered by the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist. Anyone wishing to make a donation to the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre Trust Fund can find all the information they need under the ‘Local Services’ tab of this website.


Breast Cancer Clinical Trial
Associate Professor Stephen Della-Fiorentina, a foundation member of our committee, has announced that a new breast cancer clinical trial has commenced. The Southern Highlands Cancer Centre has started the trial for women with early stage 2 breast cancer that is hormone sensitive. The PALLAS study is available for women who have started antihormone treatment within the past 6 months. It is run by the ANZ Breast Cancer Trials Group and investigates a new drug, Palbociclib, and whether it is of added benefit to standard antihormone medications. If you are interested in participating, please contact the Cancer Centre on 48629470.

Cancer Services Directory 2017
In late March Southern Highland News will make available the 9th edition of our annual Southern Highlands Cancer Services Directory. The theme for this year’s booklet will be aspects of palliative care. This is certainly a topical issue here in the Southern Highlands as it is across NSW so it is timely that we inform readers about the role of palliative care for cancer patients. If you provide a service for cancer patients or carers and you would like to be given a free Directory listing for the very first time, please get in touch with me. Contact details below.

Healthy Lifestyle Program

Coming this year : a free program from Cancer Council NSW for cancer survivors, carers, partners and family. The face-to-face group sessions will be facilitated by a dietitian and exercise physiologist and involve 2 hours per week for 8 weeks. 

The Enriching Survivorship Program is made up of the following components:
  * Six sessions focus on exercise and nutrition to improve cancer health (ENRICH). These sessions are facilitated by an exercise physiologist/physiotherapist and a dietitian.
  * A yoga and mindfulness session introduces relaxation breathing techniques to help reduce stress and anxiety.
  * A peer support session provides practical information, discussion and ideas about how to adjust to the changes following cancer treatment.

A course will be held at Narellan in the Macarthur region on Saturdays, commencing on Feb. 11th, from 10am-12 noon.  

For full details and the schedule of where all sessions will be held, visit the Cancer Council NSW website at https://www.cancercouncil.com.au/enrich/  Reservations are essential; telephone 1300 360 541 or email enrich@nswcc.org.au


Committee Changes
Some recent changes have occurred to the membership of our committee. After many years as our Minute Secretary, Narelle McKinnon has stepped down from the position but will remain a committee member and our minutes will now be taken by Margaret Mogg. Therese Harris has resigned from the committee after a long membership and, at our January meeting, we welcomed Bhish Rowjee, pharmacist from the Amcal Pharmacy in Springetts Arcade.

Coming Events
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. Feb. 28. RSVP Jo or Katie.
• Feb. is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month; Teal Ribbon Day will be on Feb. 24
• Can Assist meeting Feb. 9th, 10am, old Bowral Hospital
* Feel the March Charge. Walk or run, solo or team, for Cancer Council this March. See www.themarchcharge.com.au
• Mount Kosciuszko Challenge, March 18. A fundraiser by Rare Cancers Australia, this involves a climb from Thredbo to the summit. To register, visit www.rarecancers.org.au
• “Bounce Forward” program will be held at SH Private Hospital, March 25-26. For information or a booking, contact Jo Pearson, Nursing Unit Manager, Cancer Centre 4862 9472.

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


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Cancer Connections - December 2016

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Cancer Council & IPTAAS accommodation help

In the October column, I mentioned the IPTAAS funding which some Southern Highlands cancer patients may be eligible for if they are required to travel out of the area for treatment. This Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme is a little complicated but a full two-page explanation of eligibility and how it works can be found on this website in the "News & Events" section.


This month I have room to say something about a related service now provided by Cancer Council NSW on the accommodation side of the equation. Cancer patients who qualify for travel assistance while they receive treatment may also be able to access IPTAAS accommodation support as well. Various subsidies are available, depending on whether the patient and carer are staying in private accommodation, a not-for-profit or a for-profit facility. To supplement this subsidy, Cancer Council NSW have forged a special arrangement with the ACCOR hotel group to provide a reduced tariff while patients are away from home. Since the ACCOR Group operates numerous hotels at different price points, there should be something to suit most people’s pocket. With the IPTAAS subsidy along with the reduced-rate tariff, this is a substantial help in defraying the costs of treatment away from home. To access these supports, patients should ring the Cancer Council NSW Information & Support line on 13 11 20 and also visit the Enable website at www.enable.health.nsw.gov.au/home/iptaas

Reporting on the Trust Fund event
Readers who saw in this column last month a notice of the Garden event for the Peter Coupland Memorial Trust Fund, or who attended on the day itself, will be pleased to learn just how successful it was.



Wonderfully sunny weather was the first sure omen for an enjoyable day. That was confirmed by the strong attendance of Peter's colleagues and friends, and their friends too, who responded to the opportunity to do something in his memory. All was further heightened by the wonderful teamwork which went into the organisation for the event. And that was finally capped off when we found what a lovely setting had been made available to us. The wonderful gardens at Greyleaves, where the fundraiser was held, were opened up to all by our generous hosts, Belinda and Paul Shanahan. Spread out across the shaded grounds, guests were treated to a range of delightful refreshments – in my opinion much more grand than the advertised "Devonshire tea". And towards the end of the day, we also had the privilege of viewing an adjoining garden, courtesy of Robyn Coupland, Peter's mother. Lead organiser, Naomi Bermingham, has told me that the event raised more than $3,000 which will all go to the Trust Fund established in Peter's memory.



Pictured above : the organisers of the event (L to R) Naomi, Michelle, Belinda and Jo preparing the special afternoon tea.

Season’s Greetings
To readers of this column we send our sincere best wishes for this holiday season. For those of you on your own cancer journey, we wish that you can maintain the quality of hope. For your family, carers and friends, we wish that you sustain your continuing level of support. For those who regularly step up to the plate with help and donations to cancer charities, we thank you on behalf of all those who benefit from your generosity. For those who simply like to keep up to date on cancer matters and learn of local cancer-related events, please keep reading in 2017.

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


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Cancer Connections - November 2016

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Advances in Palliative Care
Last month our committee was most fortunate to have a meeting with Janeane Harlum, the Area Palliative Care Manager for South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD) of which the Wingecarribee is a part. Janeane gave us an informative talk about the PEACH program. This stands for Palliative Extended Aged Care in the Home and the PEACH packages are designed to provide clinical care and support for people who wish to die at home or remain at home for as long as possible. To qualify, the patient needs to be assessed as eligible and to have a carer living with them.

The program is available for the last seven days of life and is delivered by the Silver Chain Nursing Service. Their nurses specialising in end-of-life-care make visits to the home to provide valuable help for the patient and carer through clinical, personal and psychosocial support. Janeane informed us that 83% of the packages were provided to patients with a cancer diagnosis. 70% of these patients die in their own home. So far, in the Wingecarribee 58 packages of care have been provided for 29 patients and 3 of these have been for children or young adults.

The Tackling Tobacco program
“Tackling Tobacco” is a step-by-step program that aims to reduce smoking-related harm amongst the most socio-economically disadvantaged groups in NSW. Through this new program, Cancer Council NSW works with community service organisations to address smoking problems and to give their clients the support they need to quit. The program is made up of six core elements that form an organisation-wide approach to addressing smoking. This approach promotes a shared responsibility of care and a positive culture, ensuring that smoking care becomes part of the usual care provided by the service. Cancer Council NSW have partnered with Highlands Community Centres Stafford Cottage and the program is already underway.

Peter Coupland Memorial Trust Fund
Readers of this column may remember that, in May last year, I reported on the sad and unexpected death of Peter Coupland. Peter was a Social Worker at the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre and a most valued member of our Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee. His sudden passing was a great loss and it brought home to all who worked with him what a special and inspiring person he was. Staff colleagues at the Southern Highlands Private Hospital have taken the initiative to organise an event in Peter’s memory. It will take the form of a viewing of two gardens along with a Devonshire tea at ‘Greyleaves’ Burradoo on December 3rd, 2-5pm. All proceeds are going to the Peter Coupland Memorial Fund. Organiser Naomi Bermingham tells me details are on a Facebook page ‘Peter Coupland Memorial Fund’.

Can Assist film success

There was another sell-out attendance for the Can Assist film evening at which supporters had the chance to see the new movie “The Light between Oceans”. Successful fundraisers like this are only possible through the work of Can Assist’s tireless volunteers and the generosity of those who make donations and those who attend – all are helping local cancer patients. And the result ? Can Assist's Secretary, Terry Hughes, reports a net result of $5,420 from the evening -- a credit to everyone involved.


Coming Events
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group meet at SH Private Hospital, 10.30am, Nov. 22. RSVP Jo or Katie on 4862 9470
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Nov. 23.

• Men’s Health Month forum, St Jude’s Auditorium, Nov. 24 at 6pm sharp. Full details can be found in our 'News and Events' section of this website.

• Look Good Feel Better program at SH Private Hospital, Nov. 29. For details and to register, visit their website at www.lgfb.org.au/workshop or telephone 1800 650 960.

• ‘Greyleaves’ Garden Devonshire tea in aid of Peter Coupland Memorial Fund, Dec. 3, 2-5pm (see above)
• Can Assist meeting, Thursday, Dec. 8th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital.

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


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