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 2016

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Missed the Cancer Services Directory 2016 ?

Never mind. A copy of our Southern Highlands Cancer Services Directory for 2016 can still be picked up from the Cancer Centre within the Southern Highlands Private Hospital. On top of which, if you happen to prefer to read a copy of the booklet online, we can accommodate that as well. The Directory is now easily available and can be accessed by just clicking on the tab Directory above. You will find that Southern Highland News have now made it an interactive digital magazine. It has a number of hyperlinks throughout which will give you instant opening of webpages or email windows. It reads so clearly on a full screen and you can still zoom in even further.


“What did your doctor say ?”
The charity organisation Rare Cancers Australia has developed an innovative app to help cancer patients through their medical consultations. Richard Vines recently outlined to our committee how it all works. The CAN.recall app uses the latest technology to improve the early patient experiences of those diagnosed with cancer. It provides a structured process for asking questions of the clinician (with a set of relevant questions already provided) and for recording the answers during a consultation. This can later be revisited and also replayed for family. CAN.recall is available now for smart phones and tablets on iPhone and Android platforms as a free download. Details are on the Rare Cancers website at www.rarecancers.org.au

Haematology services for the Highlands ?
Further to the item last month which notified of a setback in our efforts to have haematology services provided to uninsured patients here in the Southern Highlands : Readers may not be aware of the fact that self insured haematology patients are able to receive their treatment here at the private hospital while uninsured patients must travel to Liverpool for the same treatment. The planned arrangements for all to be treated locally does not now fit in with the public hospital’s current priorities. Our committee believes that those patients would be far better off if served closer to home, wherever possible. We know that the issue is a far more important one than currently assessed in the public hospital’s priorities and we will continue to press for this much-needed improvement in cancer services.



Relay For Life 2016
With a new venue at Moss Vale Showground and different times for start/finish, the Southern Highlands Relay this year was again a most successful event. The weather was good and the spirit among participants was great. This year’s efforts raised nearly $160,000 and thanks must go to the hardworking committee members who did all the organising and to all those people who attended or who donated. The amount raised will help towards meeting the cost of the great many services provided by Cancer Council NSW.



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 available from all participating pharmacies in the Southern Highlands throughout April and 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
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group meet at private hospital, 10am, April 26. RSVP Jo or Katie on 4862 9470
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Wed. April 27

• Look Good Feel Better program, SH Cancer Centre, Tues. May 10th. For information, select the LGFB tab under the "Local Services" menu above.

Can Assist meeting, Thursday, May 12th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital

• Biggest Morning Teas can be held anytime throughout May or June. There will be one held at the Private Hospital on May 26th.


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




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Cancer Connections - March 2016

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Can Assist Success
Sunday luncheon at Summerlees, organised by the local branch of Can Assist, proved to be as enjoyable an occasion as we all wished it to be. With a beautiful venue as the setting, provided free of charge by the owner, and a meal lovingly prepared by a professional caterer, similarly free of charge, we were set for a pleasant afternoon spent in a good cause. Guest speaker, Dr Joon Kim, gave a most interesting talk to show how he, as a surgeon, approaches the patient relationship and what he personally brings to that partnership. A further highlight was the drawing of the raffle whose first prize was an artwork, donated by Desmond Freeman, showing St Mark’s Basilica in Venice. Branch President, Jann Wadsworth, thanked all supporters who had donated or freely given their time to ensure that it was such a financial success. The function is the only major fundraiser they will hold this year.

Pictured above : Guest Speaker, Dr Joon Kim addressing the Can Assist luncheon.

Pictured below : Some of the many supporters of Can Assist who enjoyed the pleasant surroundings of Summerlees.

(All photographs courtesy of AJ Moran Photography)








Haematology services not good enough
We have just received word that the long-awaited arrangements for public (uninsured) haematology patients to be treated at the Cancer Centre within the Southern Highlands Private Hospital will not go ahead. This is enormously disappointing since the medical staff concerned and the private hospital were keen to finalise the details so that public patients could be treated here in the highlands, just as private patients already are. Instead, they will have to continue travelling to Liverpool for treatment. We understand that the public hospital has other priorities but our committee will continue to press for this much-needed improvement in cancer services and you will hear a lot more about this matter.

Cancer Services Directory 2016
Readers of this column are reminded that our Southern Highlands Cancer Services Directory will be published as a free booklet in the Southern Highland News on Wednesday, March 23rd. For this year’s edition, the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee has chosen as its theme the issue of rare and less common cancers. In addition to articles explaining the position of people diagnosed with a rare cancer there is an article provided by Richard Vines, a Director of Rare Cancers Australia. The booklet will, as usual, contain information about all local cancer services as well as an up-to-date comprehensive directory of related listings.

Relay For Life 2016

Have you registered for this year’s Relay For Life ? Or have you formed your own team ? Relay approaches soon, kicking off at the Moss Vale Showground from 12 noon Saturday April 2nd to 12 

noon Sunday, April 3rd. If you cannot attend, for whatever reason, you can still support the event by making a donation towards the fundraising target of a friend or family member. This event, which comes to the Highlands every second year, provides substantial financial support for Cancer Council’s wide range of services. To register for Relay, or just to make a donation, visit the website at http://fundraising.cancer.org.au


New committee members

Following up on the closer association between our committee and Rare Cancers Australia, at our March meeting we welcomed Richard Vines as a new member. In giving us some further information about the work of his charity organisation, Richard went on to outline an innovative app - CAN.recall - which they have developed. More details on that next month. At the same meeting, we also made welcome the Nursing Unit Manager at Wingecarribee Community Health, Carolyn Le Compte. It will be of enormous benefit to our group to have Carolyn as a member since her position gives her a unique insight into which particular services a cancer patient is entitled to.

Coming Events
• Highlands Tenpin for men’s health forums, Fri. March 18. Telephone 0418223696
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group meet at private hospital, 10am, March 22. RSVP Jo or Katie on 4862 9470
• Cancer Services Directory published in Southern Highland News, Wed. March 23
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Wed. March 23
• Can Assist meeting, Thursday, April 14th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• Relay For Life 2016 on Sat.-Sun. April 2-3 at Moss Vale Showground

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






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Cancer Connections - February 2016

Monday, February 22, 2016

Cancer Services Directory 2016
The 8th edition of our Southern Highlands Cancer Sevices Directory will be published as a free booklet in the Southern Highland News on Wednesday, March 23rd. As we did last year, the booklet will be combined with the Southern Highlands Health Guide to make a comprehensive health issue. For this year’s edition of our Directory, the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee has chosen to base its articles around the issue of rare and less common cancers. In doing this, we are acknowledging the work of the organisation, Rare Cancers Australia, which was founded by its energetic Directors, Richard and Kate Vines, of Bowral. Make sure to get your copy. To place an advertisement in the bumper booklet, please contact the News sales team on 4861 2333.

Can Assist Luncheon

The local branch of Can Assist will be holding a luncheon at Summerlees Estate, Illawarra Highway, Sutton Forest, 12 for 12.30pm, on Sunday, March 6th. Tickets for this event, Can Assist’s major fundraiser for the year, are nearly sold out already, but to get the last ones, please telephone Aurelia Grigore-Reid on 4861 3234 or 0418 466 739.


Donation of superb new machine
We have just learned that, through an extremely kind but anonymous donor, the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre has been given a DigniCap machine. This machine’s function is to cool the scalp of a patient while they receive chemotherapy. This is a proven approach to reducing the hair loss often associated with chemo treatment : by cooling the scalp, the DigniCap reduces the blood flow to that area so that less chemotherapy reaches the hair cells. Many thanks are due to our anonymous donor for such a generous gesture.



Supporting Rare Cancers Australia

At February's meeting of the Cancer Leadership Committee, Kate Vines from RCA gave an outline of the aims and activities of Rare Cancers Australia and noted some of their recent successes. Although only formed in 2012, RCA has already had a significant impact in raising awareness of the special needs of people diagnosed with a rare or less common cancer. RCA will be holding their annual climb to the top of Mount Kosciuszko on March 12 this year. Details on the RCA website www.rarecancers.org.au


Relay For Life 2016

Supporters are now registering and forming teams for this year’s Relay For Life. The new venue will be the Moss Vale Showground and the event will be held from 12 noon Saturday April 2nd to 12 noon Sunday, April 3rd. The new times will allow for the normal sporting activities that take place on Saturday mornings before families head out to the Showground. This event, which comes to the Highlands every second year, provides substantial financial support for Cancer Council’s wide range of services. To register for Relay, or just to make a donation, visit their website at http://fundraising.cancer.org.au


Coming Events
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group meet at private hospital, 10am, Feb. 23rd. RSVP Jo or Katie on 4862 9470
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Wed. Feb. 24
• Can Assist luncheon at Summerlees, 12 for 12.30pm, March 6th. See above.
• Look Good Feel Better program, Cancer Centre, 10am-12.30pm, March 8
• Can Assist meeting, Thursday, March 10th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• Rare Cancers Australia hold Mount Kosciuszko Challenge, March 12th
• Highlands Tenpin for men’s health forums, Fri. March 18. Telephone 0418 223 696
• Relay For Life 2016 on Sat.-Sun. April 2-3 at Moss Vale Showground


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








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Cancer Connections - January 2016

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Breast Cancer Support Group reforms

The good news is that a support group for breast cancer patients and survivors in the Southern Highlands has been re-activated. The new group will be having its first meeting at the Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, on Wednesday, January 27th. This is due to the initiative of the volunteer facilitator, Lesley McPherson. For more information, ring Lesley on 0438 001177 or email to lesley@lesleymcpherson.com.au


There is also continuing support for men diagnosed with prostate cancer. This is available by contacting Tom Carroll, the organiser of the Prostate Support Group, on 0419 482208 or email to carroll.tom747@gmail.com


Advance Notice of Can Assist Luncheon

The local branch of Can Assist will be holding a luncheon at Summerlees Estate, Illawarra Highway, Sutton Forest, 12 for 12.30pm, on Sunday, March 6th. Tickets for this event will be taken up quickly, so for all bookings and enquiries, please telephone Aurelia Grigore-Reid on 4861 3234 or 0418 466 739; or else email to aurelia@ozemail.com.au


Cancer Services Directory 2016
The 8th edition of our Southern Highlands Cancer Sevices Directory will be published as a free booklet with an issue of the Southern Highland News in late March. For this year’s edition, the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee has chosen to base its articles around the issue of rare and less common cancers. In doing this, we are acknowledging and supporting the work of the organisation, Rare Cancers Australia, which was founded by its energetic Directors, Richard and Kate Vines, of Bowral.

Relay For Life 2016
As the co-ordinating committee gets everything together, it’s a good time to make note of some of the changes for this year’s Relay : new venue at Moss Vale Showground; new times from 12 noon Saturday to 12 noon on Sunday. The dates : April 2nd – 3rd.

Mount Kosciuszko Challenge

Rare Cancers Australia will be holding their climb to the top of Mount Kosciuszko on March 12 this year. This annual event to raise funds through supporters and sponsors has a target this year of 100 people taking part in the climb. Details are on the Rare Cancers website at www.rarecancers.org.au


Tenpin Bowling for WHAM
The next fundraiser for the Wingecarribee Health Association for Men (WHAM) – the organisers of the November Men’s Health Forums - will be a Highlands Tenpin event at Mittagong on Friday, March 18. For bookings and all information, telephone 4871 1600.

Coming Events
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Wed. Jan. 27
• World Cancer Day will be on Thursday, February 4th
• Can Assist meeting, Thursday, February 11th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital

• February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Hold an afternoon tea in February to support Ovarian Cancer Australia. Their website is at https://ovariancancer.net.au/

• Here’s another cause : organise an Iced Tea Party for lymphoedema research, mid-Feb. to end of March. See the website : www.icedteaparty.com.au

• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group meet at the private hospital, 10am on Feb. 23rd. RSVP Jo or Katie on 4862 9470
• Can Assist luncheon at Summerlees, 12 for 12.30pm, March 6. See above.
  Look Good Feel Better program, Cancer Centre, 10am-12.30pm, March 8
• Rare Cancers Australia hold Mount Kosciuszko Challenge, March 12
• Highlands Tenpin in aid of men’s health forums, Fri. March 18. Telephone 4871 1600
• Relay For Life 2016 on Sat.-Sun. April 2-3 at Moss Vale Showground

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





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Cancer Connections - December 2015

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Cancer Services Directory 2016

Our Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee is currently planning next year’s Directory which will be published in the Southern Highland News in March. If you provide a service for cancer patients or carers and you would like to be given a free listing for the very first time, or if you wish to make an alteration to your current listing, please get in touch with me. Contact details are below.

Meeting with Jai Rowell
In late November I had a meeting with the State member for Wollondilly, Jai Rowell. This was in my role as the Cancer Council MP Liaison for that electorate. The role provides the opportunity to take up current cancer issues with the local member. On this occasion I raised two very important matters : the need for better services for lymphoedema patients, especially having more specialist lymphoedema therapists, and the continuing drive to increase the number of Aboriginal workers in NSW cancer services in order to improve outcomes for Aboriginal cancer patients. Jai was most supportive indeed and undertook to contact the Minister for Health on both of these issues.

Paws Pet Therapy thankyou
Following up on an item in last month’s column : Christmas parties are all the go at present, of course. But earlier this month I dropped in for a little while at a Christmas get together which was different to the usual, since half the partygoers were dogs. On a sunny Saturday at a local park, under the shade of big old trees, volunteers for Paws Pet Therapy gathered, along with their (leashed) dogs, for a big “Thank You” luncheon for everyone, organised by their team leader, Sharon Stewart.

Men’s Health Forums
I was able to go along to three of the November men’s health forums held in Bowral. They were very well-attended and the high quality of the presentations from local medicos and health professionals meant that those men, and women, attending the sessions learnt a great deal. Congratulations go to Tom Carroll, Peter van Dort, and Wingecarribee Health Association for Men (WHAM) for the excellent series of talks. 

Pictured : Assoc. Prof. Stephen Della-Fiorentina addressing the first men's forum. Stephen is the medical oncologist at the Cancer Centre and is also a foundation member of the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee.

The next fundraiser for WHAM will be a Highlands Tenpin event on Friday, March 18. For bookings and information, telephone 4871 1600.

Season’s greetings
Christmas is a great time to recognise all the good efforts of so many folk in our district who help others. Time to pause and reflect on the many achievements recorded during the last twelve months and then to look forward to what more can be done by our combined efforts next year. Sincere greetings of the season to all our volunteers and supporters throughout the district who do so much to benefit those with cancer.

Coming Events
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group’s next meeting at the private hospital will be at 10am on Dec. 22. RSVP Jo or Katie on 4862 9470
• Please note : our local Can Assist does not hold a branch meeting in January.
Next meeting will be on February 11th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• World Cancer Day will be on Thursday, February 4th

• February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Hold an afternoon tea in February to support Ovarian Cancer Australia. Their website is at  https://ovariancancer.net.au/

• Here’s another cause : organise an Iced Tea Party for lymphoedema research, mid-Feb. to end of March. See the website :  www.icedteaparty.com.au

• Highlands Tenpin event in aid of men’s health forums, Fri. March 18. See item above.
• Relay For Life 2016 on Sat.-Sun. April 2-3 at Moss Vale Showground

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





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Cancer Connections - November 2015

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Community Cancer Fund now launched

On Thursday, November 12th, along with five other members of our committee, I was fortunate to be present at the Milk Factory Gallery for an important event. On that evening the Southern Highlands Community Cancer Fund was launched by Dr Brendan Nelson, a past President of the AMA, before a large audience of well-wishers. This new fund is being established by Bowral residents, Richard and Kate Vines, who have already achieved so much in the field of cancer support and information through their creation of Rare Cancers Australia (RCA). You can find out more about how this new initiative will assist cancer patients - and how Richard and Kate’s work has already helped people with rare and less common cancers - by visiting their website at  www.rarecancers.org.au or by calling in at the RCA office in Springetts Arcade.


Paws Pet Therapy in action
Did you know that there are currently 30 volunteers supported by Paws Pet Therapy to provide a professional pet assisted therapy service to facilities in the Southern Highlands and several other regions ? In our own district, Paws teams make weekly visits to aged care services and disability groups, and provide daily visits to the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre. 

Clad in purple, the Paws Pet Therapy teams provide comfort to people undergoing chemotherapy and also to their families and hard-working Cancer Centre staff. They can also decrease blood pressure and alleviate anxiety in patients. Feedback from the Cancer Centre staff, patients and families has been extremely positive, and all look forward to a doggie smile and a friendly wag of the tail every day.

The founder of Paws Pet Therapy, Sharon Stewart, is pictured here with Rocky.

If you would like to find out more about the benefits of pet therapy, or would like to book a visit, please check out their website at www.pawspettherapy.com , contact  sharon.paws@hotmail.com  or telephone 4681 0499. Or you could call to have a chat about volunteering or sponsorship opportunities.


Accor Hotels accommodation support
A new partnership has been announced by Cancer Council NSW and AccorHotels which will bring help to some local cancer patients. The new scheme will provide Southern Highlands cancer patients with reduced rate accommodation options when they are required to travel to Sydney for their cancer treatment. This partnership will complement the current NSW Government’s Isolated Patients Transport and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS). The service will be available across 62 AccorHotels properties close to treatment facilities in greater Sydney and other locations across NSW. The overall financial burden of cancer will be reduced for these patients when they claim the commercial IPTAAS rate on these rooms. More details about this scheme can be obtained from Sally Hudson, Community Programs Co-ordinator at Cancer Council NSW, by telephoning 4223 0205.

Relay For Life 2016

Advance notice is out that next year’s Southern Highlands Relay For Life will be held at the Moss Vale Showground instead of Eridge Park Oval. The organising committee is already at work to have everything ready for Saturday, April 2. Relay is only held every second year and after the great success in 2014, in which our Southern Highlands community contributed so generously for Cancer Council NSW, people are looking forward to another excellent event. This time Relay will run from 12pm Saturday until 12pm Sunday - which should be a timing to suit most people. It’s now possible to form a team or to join an existing team. Just go to the website  www.relayforlife.org.au and choose the Southern Highlands page. If you won’t be in the district on that date, the page also has a facility for you to donate. Relay is also on Facebook.


Coming Events

• Men’s Health Month continues, 6pm Mondays at St Judes : Nov. 23 & 30. Full details can be found in our 'News and Events' section of this website.

• “Bounce Forward” program will be on Nov. 28-29. All the details can be found in our 'News and Events' section of this website.

• Dec. 5 is International Volunteer Day celebrating the fantastic work by so many
• Can Assist meeting Dec. 10, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• Relay For Life 2016 on Sat.-Sun. April 2-3 at Moss Vale Showground.

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



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Cancer Connections - October 2015

Friday, October 23, 2015

Chemotherapy co-payments removed
During September, the NSW Government followed through on their pre-election commitment to abolish chemotherapy co-payments for all patients. Prior to this, some people were being charged co-payments for highly specialised chemotherapy, and others were not. The promise to no longer require a co-payment for chemotherapy (and a number of other treatments) came as a result of the ‘Saving Life’ campaign conducted by Cancer Council NSW throughout all electorates in the run up to the election. It’s great to see that the Government has now acted on this so quickly.

Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group
The first meeting of this new local support group catering for any cancer patients (and their carers) was most successful. The inaugural meeting saw 19 people attend which provides a sound basis for continuing support. The group will hold their next gathering on Thursday, October 22nd, 10.00am to 11.30. Venue : conference room of the Southern Highlands Private Hospital. Anyone interested in attending is invited to telephone Jo Pearson or Katie Moran on 4862 9470.

Bounce Forward !

The valuable initiative ‘Bounce Forward’ (previously called ‘Living Well Now’) is a two-day program which will be held at the Southern Highlands Private Hospital on Saturday and Sunday, 28th & 29th November. It provides practical tools for finding peace amidst the turmoil of a cancer diagnosis. The course was developed here in the Southern Highlands by Dr Louella Crawford, a GP and psychotherapist, and Jo Pearson, the Nursing Unit Manager at the Cancer Centre. Further details are available on the flyer shown on this website. Just look under the 'News and Events' tab above. If you would like to make a booking, please contact Jo on 4862 9470.









Organise an event for PINK October and raise funds for Cancer Council NSW

More news bites
The Southern Highlands Spring Auto Fair held at Berrima PS in September raised $20,000 !! Proceeds were donated to the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre. What a fabulous effort by all involved.
The General and Practical Support program (GAPS) is in need of volunteer drivers. Anyone who feels they can help transport cancer patients to or from consultations, treatment, etc is asked to contact Sally Hudson at Cancer Council NSW on 4223 0205.

October is PINK month and we are even more aware of cancer in our community. If you have a relevant local cancer service you wish to see given a free listing in our Cancer Services Directory to be issued in Southern Highland News next March, just send me an email at info@sh-cancerconnect.com.au

• Tom Carroll has organised another Men’s Health Month on behalf of Wingecarribee Health Association for Men (WHAM). There will be four events on Monday evenings in this November, starting on Monday 9th at 6pm. The venue is the new auditorium at St Jude’s Anglican Church, Bowral. For all the details, look on this website under the 'News and Events' tab.

Rare Cancers Australia has organised the ‘Sick or Treat Sessions’, a series of presentations by medical academics and cancer specialists, to be held at the University of Sydney on Oct. 28. For all details, visit their website at www.rarecancers.org.au or call into their office in Springetts Arcade or else contact RCA on 4862 2768.


Coming Events
• October is PINK month. Organise a Girls Night In during October
• Can Assist fundraiser : movie “The Dressmaker” at Empire Cinema, Oct. 22
• Cancer Council’s Pink Ribbon Day – don’t forget to buy a ribbon
• National Bandanna Day against childhood cancer is Sat. Oct. 31
• Men’s Health Month, four Mondays in Nov., starting Nov. 9. See above
• Can Assist meeting Nov. 12, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• “Bounce Forward” program will now be on Nov. 28-29. See above.
• Advance Notice : RFL 2016 on April 2-3 at Moss Vale Showground.

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




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Cancer Connections - September 2015

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Bacteria to eat nicotine ?
Most people who smoke cigarettes know it’s bad for their health, but quitting is notoriously difficult. To make it easier, scientists are taking a brand-new approach. They are turning to bacteria that thrive on nicotine, the addictive component in tobacco. In the Journal of the American Chemical Society, they report successful tests on a bacterial enzyme that breaks down nicotine and could potentially dull its effects in humans.

The researchers used an enzyme called NicA2 that comes from Pseudomonas putida, a kind of bacteria already known to degrade tobacco waste. In lab tests, NicA2 broke down all the nicotine in blood samples within 30 minutes. If the enzyme could be used to remove nicotine from smokers’ blood, this would reduce or eliminate the addictive component of smoking. Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable disease, disability and death. Mice given the enzyme showed no observable side effects. More research needed. Early days yet.



No sales of e-cigarettes to under 18 years
New laws have come into force in NSW banning the sale of electronic cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18. E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that heat a liquid which may contain nicotine, to create a mist to be inhaled by the user, a process known as vaping. The CEO of the Heart Foundation NSW, Kerry Doyle, said : “The trouble with e-cigarettes is that we don’t know what’s in a lot of them. What we do know is that in NSW a great proportion of the ones that were tested by our own health department actually had nicotine, which is a scheduled poison.” The NSW Government passed laws in June to address concerns that e-cigarettes could act as a gateway to tobacco smoking in children.

Mira Glavan speaks to Can Assist

On Thursday September 15, I was able to attend the annual meeting of Can Assist’s Southern Highlands branch and noted that this year marks their 55th year of service to our local community. What a record. It has all been achieved by local volunteers raising funds to help local cancer patients. The guest speaker was Mira Glavan, the Clinical Nurse Consultant in Palliative Care, who gave a most informative presentation to explain how palliative care nowadays focuses on achieving the best quality of life for those with an incurable illness. Rather than merely helping at “end of life”, today’s program of support can be provided 3 or 6 months earlier than that. Survey results have shown that the Wingecarribee Palliative Care team have received the highest praise from patients and their loved ones. If you would like to donate to the work of Can Assist, their postal address is PO Box 693, Bowral, or you can find all their contact details on the Can Assist webpage on this website click here


WARNING : Bogus phone calls have been made by someone asking for donations for “Bowral Cancer Centre”. This is a scam. 
There is no such collection. Just hang up.

Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group
A local support group, catering for any cancer patients (and their carers), is soon to be formed. The first meeting of the Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group will be held on Thursday, 24th September, 10-11.30am in the conference room of the Southern Highlands Private Hospital. Anyone interested in attending is invited to telephone Jo Pearson on 4862 9472.

Coming Events
• September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
• September is also Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
• SH Blood Cancer Support Group will meet on Sept. 23
• First meeting of Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, Thurs, Sept. 24, 10.00 – 11.30am, conference room, Southern Highlands Private Hospital
• Bright Pink Lipstick Day in aid of breast & ovarian cancer issues, Fri. Sept. 25
• Spring Auto Fair, Berrima Public School, Sept. 27, 9am-2pm
• Organise a Girls Night In during October
• Can Assist meeting Oct. 8, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• Home & Garden Show will be at Bong Bong Racecourse, Oct. 10th-11th
• Can Assist fundraiser : movie “The Dressmaker” at Empire Cinema, Oct. 22
• Please note : a full program of “Bounce Forward” will now be on Nov. 21-22

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






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Cancer Connections - August 2015

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Southern Highlands Patient Transport Service
Cancer patients from the Southern Highlands who require transport to the Macarthur Cancer Therapy Centre for treatment, or to see a doctor or specialist, can access the Southern Highlands Patient Transport Service. This bus is funded by Cancer Council NSW and fully operated by trained volunteers.

The service runs daily, picking up patients and their carers at set locations in the Highlands and returning passengers following treatment. The bus can collect patients who are booked to travel from the designated stops at Moss Vale, Bowral, Mittagong, Braemar, Hill Top & Colo Vale, Bargo, Tahmoor and Picton from 9.00am every weekday. Bookings are made by telephoning the Cancer Council Southern Region office in Wollongong on 4223 0200. Passengers are invited to make a $5 donation per day towards the cost of petrol and servicing.





If you are using the service, please inform the nursing staff at the Centre so that they can schedule your treatment to coincide with the arrival of the bus. The bus is staffed by volunteers; no medical equipment or medical staff are on board. Full details about the bus are also available on this website : click here

Blood Cancer Support Group
It was heartening news that the Southern Highlands Blood Cancer Support Group held another successful meeting in August and have now planned their program for the rest of 2015. I have learned that their next meeting will be on Wednesday, 23rd September. Bookings are essential, so please RSVP to Rachel Seath on (02) 4222 0607 or 0466 491 793. Any patient receiving treatment for a blood cancer condition who is interested in joining this group is advised to telephone direct to Rachel who is the Support Co-ordinator, Illawarra and South West Sydney, for the Leukaemia Foundation.

Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group
In addition to the successful blood cancer support group mentioned above, I can now report that a local support group, catering for patients (and their carers) with any form of cancer, is soon to be formed. The first meeting of the new Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group will be held on Thursday, 24th September, 10.00 – 11.30am in the conference room of the Southern Highlands Private Hospital. See also the item and flyer in our ‘News and Events’ column. Anyone interested in attending is asked to RSVP (for catering purposes) by telephoning Jo Pearson or Katie Moran on 4862 9470.

Quick reminder of three events :

• Daffodil Day, 
a major fundraiser for Cancer Council, is on Friday, 28th August this year. Buy a badge, a pen or other merchandise on that day, or simply make a donation, at stalls staffed by volunteers. Also some local stores and outlets will have material available in the week prior.
* "Bounce Forward" Program 
will be held again at the Southern Highlands Private Hospital on Sat. & Sun., September 12 & 13. You will find all the details and flyer already under our "News & Events" tab above.
• Southern Highlands Spring Auto Fair

is at Berrima Public School on September 27th, 9am - 2pm. Organised by the Highland Cruisers, this event showcases vintage and veteran cars, hot rods, muscle cars and motorcycles. Contact : Darren Freer 0439 110 358, Phil Walmsley 0438 402 797, or email shspringautofair@gmail.com. All proceeds are going to the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre, a most worthy cause.


Coming Events
• Daffodil Day supporting Cancer Council NSW will be Friday, August 28

• August is a month for “Cook for a Cure”, a Research Australia initiative to educate about the importance of health and medical research. Visit http://cookforacure.com.au/

• Annual Branch meeting of Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist will be held on Sept. 10, 10am in the Lecture Room of the old Bowral Hospital, followed by light refreshments
* "Bounce Forward" Program at the SH Private Hospital, Sept. 12 & 13 : see all the details under our "News & Events" tab above
• September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month - 600 Australian children are diagnosed with cancer every year
• September is also Prostate Cancer Awareness Month - in 2012 there were over 3,000 deaths caused by prostate cancer
• Spring Auto Fair, Berrima Public School, Sept. 27, 9am-2pm
• Home & Garden Show will be at Bong Bong Racecourse, Oct. 10th-11th

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





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Cancer Connections - July 2015

Monday, July 20, 2015

Blood Cancer Support Group
Members of the Southern Highlands Blood Cancer Support Group will be continuing to meet since the group has been most worthwhile for its members. The next gathering will be on Tuesday, August 4th from 10am to 12 noon. Any patient receiving treatment for a blood cancer condition who is interested in joining the group is advised to contact the Leukaemia Foundation by telephoning Rachel Seath, Support Co-ordinator, on (02) 4222 0607.

Spring Auto Fair
Have you heard ? The Southern Highlands Spring Auto Fair is coming to Berrima Public School on September 27th, 9am to 2pm. Organised by the Highland Cruisers, this event is to showcase vintage and veteran cars, hot rods, muscle cars and motorcycles – both for those who want to display their vehicles and for families to come and admire them. Contact : Darren Freer 0439 110 358, Phil Walmsley 0438 402 797, or email shspringautofair@gmail.com. All proceeds are going to the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre, a most worthy cause.

Donation from BDCU
Another great example of support from our local community : I found that the BDCU (now the BDCU Alliance Bank) recently held a Facebook page competition in which members nominated their favourite local charity. The winning charity was drawn from the hat and awarded the $250 prize. However, when the bank saw just how many had nominated Can Assist as their favourite, they decided to donate an additional $250 to them as well ! Congratulations to Can Assist for being preferred by so many people and well done to BDCU Alliance Bank for their continued support of our community.



Tulip Time 2015
The 2015 Tulip Time Charity Partner is the Garvan Research Foundation. Tulip Time Ambassadors will be Samuel Johnson and his sister Connie, both of whom have been energetically spreading the message about breast cancer awareness through the “Love Your Sister” campaign. Proceeds from this year’s event will be going to improve audio visual capabilities at Garvan's Moss Vale facility and the establishment of the Connie Johnson Breast Cancer Research Fellowship, as well as contributing to training programs in the Wingecarribee community. 

Smoke-free outdoor dining
Readers of this column will remember that it was reported here that the commencement date for the NSW Government’s policy on smoke-free environments in dining areas across the state was July 6th this year. As foreshadowed, further details were made available about this program to reduce the incidence of secondhand tobacco smoke affecting people in outdoor café and dining locations. To find out more about the smoke-free laws, you can visit the website of NSW Health at www.health.nsw.gov.au/tobacco where the state’s health care policy to create a cleaner environment is fully outlined. It is expected that, in a short while, the law will be understood and complied with. Anyway, why would any coffee shop proprietor risk fines of up to $5,500 by allowing people to smoke next to his other customers ?

Coming Events
• Blood Cancer Support Group will meet at 10am on August 4
• Can Assist meeting August 13, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• Daffodil Day supporting Cancer Council NSW will be Friday, August 28
• Annual Branch meeting of Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist will be held on Sept. 10, 10am in the Lecture Room of the old Bowral Hospital, followed by light refreshments
• Tulip Time Southern Highlands is Sept. 15 - 27
• Spring Auto Fair, Berrima Public School, Sept. 27, 9am-2pm
• Advance Notice : Relay For Life 2016 will be April 2-3 at Moss Vale Showground.

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




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