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 - 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 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 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 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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Cancer Connections - October 2016

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Do you know what IPTAAS is ?

No ? Well it’s an ugly acronym, so you’re forgiven. But IPTAAS is most important for Southern Highlands cancer patients who have to travel for treatment. It’s the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme paid for by NSW Health. It provides a transport and accommodation subsidy to help people cover some of the costs of visits to specialist medical treatment not available in their local area. As you would expect, conditions apply. Probably the most crucial one is that it is for patients who travel more than 100km (one way) from home to treatment or who travel more than 200km in total in one week. And there is a subsidy to help pay for accommodation while having to stay away from home in the treatment period. For an explanation of eligibility and how IPTAAS works, all the details are on this website : just click here.


GAPS needs volunteers
You may have heard of our GAPS service : the General and Practical Support program. Our volunteers visit cancer patients at home to provide assistance with shopping, driving them to medical appointments, light help in the home, or respite for a carer. There are currently opportunities for you to receive training by Cancer Council to become a GAPS volunteer. 
To find out more, telephone Sally on 42230205 or Joan on 0428681926.

“The Light Between Oceans” for Can Assist

Coming up on Thursday, November 10th is a screening of the movie “The Light Between Oceans” at the New Empire Cinema. With generous support from the cinema and from the FISH film group, this will be a fundraiser for the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist and follows on from their most successful movie night when we saw “The Dressmaker”. Same format : 6 for 6.30pm with light refreshments when you arrive; lots of door prizes; and proceeds go to a most worthy cause. Details are on this website under our "News and Events" tab. Tickets are $25 and available from the cinema. But be quick – the last one sold out.


How appropriate is the Can Assist logo for a movie about a lighthouse keeper ?


November : Men’s Health Month
The popular series of talks on men’s health by local medical professionals is set to return this November. Organised again by the resourceful Tom Carroll, Secretary of WHAM, the series will be held in St Jude’s Church auditorium on four consecutive Thursdays, starting on Nov. 3rd at 6pm. You will find full program information on our committee’s website under the News and Events tab at www.sh-cancerconnect.com.au or ring Tom on 0419482208.

Another amazing result
This year’s Southern Highlands Spring Auto Fair succeeded in raising $15,000 for the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre Trust Fund. Great work by Darren and Phil and all folk who participated.

Coming Events
• “Light the Night” for blood cancer patients, all October.
• Pink Ribbon Day will be Friday, Oct. 21, supporting women with breast or gynaecological cancer.
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group meet at SH Private Hospital, 10.30am, Oct. 25. RSVP Jo or Katie on 4862 9470
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Oct. 26.

• Rare Cancer Australia’s Sick or Treat Charity Ball, Fri. Oct. 28 : visit RCA website at https://www.rarecancers.org.au

• Cancer Council 7 Bridges walk, Sydney, Sun., Oct. 30
• Men’s Health Month talks begin at 6pm on Thurs. Nov. 3 at St Jude’s Church
• Can Assist meeting Nov. 10th, 10am, old Bowral Hospital.

• Can Assist movie “The Light Between Oceans” fundraiser, Empire Cinema, Nov. 10th, 6 for 6.30pm. Tickets $25 at the cinema. Click here for details.


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




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Cancer Connections - September 2016

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Smoking rates in NSW are changing
Data from NSW Health shows that the younger generations are driving a dramatic drop in smoking rates while rusted-on older smokers are finding it harder to quit or have given up. Across the board, smoking rates have dropped another two percentage points from 15.6% to 13.5%. The population survey, which interviews roughly 13,000 people across the state every year, found that smoking rates have declined by 10% since 2003. But among 45-54 year-olds, smoking rates jumped more than two per cent. They hardly budged among people aged 65 and over, and rose slightly among those aged 75 and over. Anita Dessaix, Manager of Cancer Prevention at Cancer Institute NSW, commented that the message, particularly for older people, is not to despair but to keep trying. There is hope and support for them to quit smoking.













Please note : For lots of tips on where to turn for Quit Smoking support, take a look at our webpage under the Prevention tab above, or just click here

Parliamentary support
We were joined at the Daffodil Day stall in Springetts Arcade this August by Jai Rowell, MP for Wollondilly. Besides adding his backing for this annual fundraiser, Jai also signed the Cancer Council pledge “I care for palliative care”, as part of the current campaign. Following this, we discussed the issue of haematology services for local patients without private health cover and found that the local member undertook to take up the matter with senior Health personnel. Such political support is significant to our drive for better patient outcomes on both of those issues.

“Push for Palliative” Petition
Last week, Thursday September 15, saw further discussion in the NSW Parliament on the petition for more palliative care. Margaret Mogg, a member of our committee, and Virginia Adlide, local “Push for Palliative” Ambassador, were among the supporters from regional NSW supplementing those from Sydney. Over 80 people packed the public gallery to hear the third debate on the petition which has been signed by over 83,000 citizens. This requests staff increases in palliative care medical specialists, specialist nurses and Aboriginal health workers and was presented by the Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner, who described the current enhancement to palliative care services. Other speakers supporting the petition were Adam Crouch (Lib.) MP for Terrigal, Jenny Aitchson (Lab.) MP for Maitland, Trish Doyle (Lab.) MP for the Blue Mountains and David Harris (Lab.) MP for Wyong. Hearing the passion of the speakers we can only hope that the momentum for the campaign will continue and a positive outcome will be achieved.

And in case you missed it :
There were a number of fine speeches made by new members of Federal Parliament this month. These included first speeches by Linda Burney (MP for Barton), Senator Malarndirri McCarthy (NT), and the one by Julian Leeser (MP for Berowra) recounting the sad story of his father’s suicide.

Coming Events

• Southern Highlands Spring Auto Fair at Berrima Public School, Sunday, Sept. 25, 9am to 2pm. For more information, contact Darren Freer 0439110358 or Phil Walmsley 0438402797 or email: shspringautofair@gmail.com Funds to support the SH Cancer Centre Trust Fund.

• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group meet at SH Private Hospital, 10.30am, Sept. 27. RSVP Jo or Katie on 4862 9470

• Look Good Feel Better program at SH Private Hospital, Sept. 27. For details and to register, visit their website at www.lgfb.org.au/workshop or telephone 1800 650 960.

• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Sept. 28.
• Can Assist meeting, Thursday, Oct. 13th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• Pink Ribbon Day will be Friday, Oct. 21, supporting women with breast or gynaecological cancer.

• Rare Cancer Australia’s Sick or Treat Charity Ball, Fri. Oct. 28 : visit RCA website at https://www.rarecancers.org.au


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




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Cancer Connections - August 2016

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Haematology hardship

If you are a reader of this column, you will be aware that we have a lack of haematology services in the Southern Highlands. (If you missed the story, go to the Cancer Connections tab above and scroll down to our July column. Further detailed information is available on the LHS of the screen by clicking on the Local Issues link to "Haematology services".) 


An uninsured patient can have a consultation at Bowral and District Hospital with a haematologist who comes from Liverpool. But for their treatment, the uninsured patient must still travel to Liverpool every time. The result, unfortunately, is that uninsured patients with a haematology diagnosis, such as leukaemia, myeloma, or other blood cancers, must make costly, time-consuming and stressful journeys to Liverpool on a regular basis. It is often family members or carers who must share this burden. And if no-one is able to get the patient to their treatment, it is often our volunteer drivers from the GAPS program who have to take them there and back.


Transporting Cancer Patients

Not aware of GAPS ? Our General and Practical Support service provides fully-trained volunteers who transport patients to and from medical appointments and treatment. Sometimes it means going all the way to Liverpool Hospital and return. Sometimes it involves transport to and from a pickup location for the Patient Transport Service. This is the bus (volunteer drivers again) that takes cancer patients to the Cancer Therapy Centre at Campbelltown. Neither service would be possible without the backing of Cancer Council NSW which provides the bus, petrol, etc and which funds the GAPS drivers’ journeys. For all the details on this transport assistance, go to the Quick Links on the LHS of screen and click on SH Patient Transport or General and Practical Support (GAPS). 






Daffodil Day
A reminder that I mentioned last month the date for Daffodil Day this year : Friday, August 26. Cancer Council always has a number of outlets in the Highlands, based on the major shopping centres. In addition, the Coles organisation has long been a strong supporter and their outlets often have Daffodil Day merchandise available in the week of the event. Every little bit helps, so why not stop by where you see the sign of the daffodil, the symbol for hope. I have invited the State MP for Wollondilly, Jai Rowell, to call in at the stall in Springetts Arcade on that morning. He has readily agreed and will be there sometime around 11am. Call by to show your support for improvements in cancer care.

New committee members

Our Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee was delighted to gain two new members in recent months. Carolyn Le Compte, the Nursing Unit Manager at Wingecarribee Community Nursing here in Bowral, has now joined our popular Mira Glavan, the Clinical Nurse Consultant in Palliative Care. I can also now proudly report that the busy editor of Southern Highland News, Jackie Meyers, has somehow found the time to join us at our monthly meetings. We are most pleased to welcome both as valuable new members.

“Push for Palliative”
This is a good time to mention the widespead efforts to improve palliative services. In a nutshell, there are just not enough palliative care doctors and nurses in the NSW health system. So it’s not possible to give every patient with life-limiting cancer who needs specialist palliative care the access to it, when they need it, wherever they live. That means that some people aren’t able to spend their dying days, weeks, or months, comfortable and pain-free, in a place of their choosing. And it means that some people aren’t treated with the dignity that everyone deserves at end of life. There is a current campaign – “Push for Palliative” spearheaded by Dr Yvonne McMaster and Cancer Council NSW – for more palliative care doctors and nurses and culturally-appropriate specialist palliative care services for Aboriginal people. More details to follow.

Coming Events
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group meet at private hospital, 10am, August 23. RSVP Jo or Katie on 4862 9470
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, August 24.
• Daffodil Day is Friday, August 26. Stall in Springetts Arcade.
• Can Assist meeting, Thursday, Sept. 8th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• Advance Notice : the Southern Highlands Spring Auto Fair is coming to Berrima Public School again on Sunday, Sept. 25, 9am to 2pm. For more information, contact Darren Freer 0439110358 or Phil Walmsley 0438402797 or email: shspringautofair@gmail.com

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


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Cancer Connections - July 2016

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Daffodil Day on Friday, August 26
Probably no event is more associated with Cancer Council than Daffodil Day, a great fundraiser for much needed support of cancer patients and their families. We always have a number of outlets in the Highlands, based on the major shopping centres. If you are interested in volunteering for someone you know, you could help out in co-ordinating a site at Mittagong or Moss Vale. Just call Caitlyn Zalewski on 42230232. Last year, Cancer Council invested $14.9 million in cancer research and received over 12,000 calls to its Information and Support Service on 13 11 20.




Haematology services for the Highlands ?
Readers of this column would know that we have had an ongoing need for improved services in this district for haematology patients. It is now time to set out some detail on what the issue is. If you are a self-insured patient, you can have a consultation and receive your treatment by a haematologist at the Southern Highlands Private Hospital. If you are an uninsured patient you can have a consultation at Bowral and District Hospital with a haematologist who comes from Liverpool. But for treatment the uninsured patient must travel to Liverpool every time.

The Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee has long believed that, wherever possible, those patients would be far better off if treated closer to home. This treatment could be achieved by a contract agreement between South Western Sydney Local Health District and Southern Highlands Private Hospital, similar to the currently existing agreement for Medical Oncology. It would avoid the need for most patients to make costly, time-consuming and stressful journeys to Liverpool on a regular basis. For well over a year, we had understood that progress was being made on this arrangement.

Contract negotiations broke down, however, when the Bowral and District Hospital’s priorities were reviewed. Haematology was not rated high enough on their list for the service to be funded and so uninsured patients still have to get to Liverpool, no matter what hardship this causes. Our committee continues to believe that it must be possible for the management of Bowral Hospital to see that better outcomes for those patients can be achieved.

Dry July
Is this your cup of tea ? Dry July is a fundraiser that challenges you to go booze-free for a month to support adults living with cancer.
This year, funds raised through Dry July can go towards a range of support projects. It’s your choice. To sign up, visit the Dry July website.

Coming Events
• Dry July to benefit cancer patients and their families.
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group meet at private hospital, 10am, July 26. RSVP Jo or Katie on 4862 9470
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, July 27

• Can Assist Annual Branch meeting, Thursday, August 11th, 10.30 am at the old Bowral Hospital

• Daffodil Day is Friday, August 26.

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


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Cancer Connections - May/June 2016

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Do you know about Palliative Care ?
Palliative care is a type of health care provided to those individuals whose illness cannot be cured. It helps the individual to live as well as possible while managing their illness. Palliative care maintains quality of life by controlling physical symptoms – pain, nausea and many others. It also looks at the emotional, social and/or spiritual needs of the individual. It supports the person who is dying and their carers and family. It can be used at any stage during the illness after curative treatment has stopped. Palliative care can be provided in the community for individuals at home, in acute hospitals, inpatient palliative care units and residential aged care. Referrals to community palliative care in the Wingecarribee can be made by telephoning The Triple I Hub on 1800 455 511. National Palliative Care Week 2016 is May 22-28 and there is an event at Bowral and District Hospital, May 27, from about 9am.

Social Worker needed
We heard at the May meeting of our committee that Wingecarribee Community Health would benefit greatly from having a trained social worker give them some time. We all understand how much the care provided by a skilled social worker can relieve a great deal of stress for someone with a cancer diagnosis. If you see yourself helping here - especially if you have had experience in palliative care – please ring Carolyn Le Compte on 4861 8000.

Can Assist needs a Treasurer
While on the issue of important people being needed : do you have the skills to be the Treasurer for a dynamic local charity ? Do you have the desire to make a real contribution to improving the welfare of cancer patients ? The local branch of Can Assist is looking for an Honorary Treasurer to keep their books. Looking after their accounts is a most important role in an organisation which receives substantial sums from so many generous local donors. 
If you can help, ring the Branch Secretary on 0414 865 521.


Transporting Patients

There is a constant need for cancer patients to be driven to various locations when they cannot do it themselves. During April, for instance, the Southern Highlands Patient Transport Service took 68 people to Campbelltown for their cancer treatment. This bus is provided by Cancer Council NSW and is staffed completely by volunteer drivers. It does the run every weekday picking up at Moss Vale, Bowral, Mittagong and points further north. Full details are on this website : just click on the Local Services tab above. In addition, the General and Practical Support service (GAPS) drives patients to their consultations or to meet the bus. That service has 60 bookings already for May and that was only up to the 11th of the month. In April, 15 people were assisted by the GAPS program and they clocked up nearly 3000 kms in that month. For more information : just click on the Local Services tab above.


If you are interested in volunteering to help out in either of these valuable services, Sally Hudson at Cancer Council NSW would like to hear from you. Her number is 4223 0205.


BowelCare Program 2016
Rotary are again distributing kits for bowel screening to pharmacies throughout our district. As was the case last year, the BowelCare Australia kits will use the updated technology of a Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) to screen for occult blood. The new kits are still available from all participating pharmacies in the Southern Highlands during May. The $15 cost for each kit covers pathology testing and notification of results to both you and your nominated doctor. Full instructions are included within the kit package.

Coming Events
• The Cancer Centre has a Biggest Morning Tea at SH Private Hospital May 19th & 20th.
• National Palliative Care Week is May 22-28
• Palliative Care event at Bowral Hospital, May 27 from about 9am
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group meet at private hospital, 10am, May 24. RSVP Jo or Katie on 4862 9470
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Wed. May 25
• Can Assist meeting, Thursday, June 9th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• Look Good Feel Better program at SH Private Hospital, July 12.

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





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