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 - January 2019

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Cancer Research remains ESSENTIAL
Continuing on from last month’s mention of some of the progress being made in cancer research, I am providing a brief summary of an item in ‘The New Daily’ which early last month reported on a promising discovery by Australian researchers.

A unique biomarker for cancer

The discovery of a unique DNA signature common to multiple cancers could one day revolutionise the way we diagnose cancer, particularly in its early stages. The cancer marker was identified by scientists at the University of Queensland who have also developed a simple test to detect it in blood and biopsy tissue. Senior researcher Matt Trau (pictured left) said it had been difficult to find a “simple marker” that would distinguish cancer cells from healthy ones. “We never thought this would be possible, because cancer is so complicated,” said Professor Trau. “Even for breast cancer, there are a dozen types, so we thought there would be different tests for different types of cancer.” The researchers were surprised to find the marker appeared in every type of breast cancer they examined, as well as in people with prostate cancer, colorectal cancer and lymphoma.


“Usually, the approach to find cancer markers … is to look at the sequence of DNA,” Professor Trau said. Taking a different tack, he and his colleagues looked instead at patterns of molecules called methyl groups, which decorate the DNA and control which genes are switched on and off. The position of these molecules forms part of the epigenome. The researchers found that in healthy cells, methyl groups are spread out across the genome. But on the genomes of cancer cells, methyl groups were positioned in intense clusters at specific locations. “Virtually every piece of cancerous DNA we examined had this highly predictable pattern,” Professor Trau said. The researchers developed a test which can detect cancer cells by picking up this epigenetic pattern in blood and biopsy tissue.

Associate Professor Elin Gray, a senior cancer researcher at Edith Cowan University, said the research was an exciting piece of work that offered “a lot of potential”. “It’s in its early stages and will have to be validated … but I think it’s very interesting - it’s a totally different approach.”

Cancer referrals on the increase

Our tireless Secretary of the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist, Terry Hughes, reports that the number of new cancer patients getting in touch with our branch since the start of July 2018 is already 63. I can indicate that this does represent an increase on previous years. New referrals of people diagnosed with cancer and seeking some form of support from Can Assist numbered 93 in 2015/2016, 105 in 2016/2017 and 104 in 2017/2018. The work of the local charity is only made possible by the continuing generosity of donors in the Southern Highlands who give directly or who support the many fundraising activities held in the name of Can Assist. Anyone wishing to hold a function to benefit their work should get in touch with the Secretary by email to gandt@live.com so that the appropriate approval can be organised.


Coming Events
• Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist will meet at Mittagong RSL Club, 10am Feb 12th.

• Rare Cancers Australia hold their Mount Kosciuszko Challenge and inaugural “Parliament to Peak” cycle ride in March. Climb from Thredbo to the summit on Sat. March 2nd. Full details on the RCA website at www.kosichallenge.com.au


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


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Cancer Connections - December 2018

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Cancer Research is ESSENTIAL
Ever wondered why cancer charities need to raise so much money ? Apart from the funds which go towards promoting cancer education, information and prevention; supporting patients undergoing treatment; and advocating for advances, a large proportion of the money raised goes to fund necessary research. This month I thought I would illustrate what goes on by mentioning in detail just two research projects which have been undertaken.

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

Bowel cancer treatment
Bowel cancer is the second most common cancer in Australia, with about 15,000 new cases diagnosed every year. Women have a 1 in 30 chance of getting bowel cancer before the age of 75, while men have a 1 in 21 chance. Survival rates have only slightly increased in recent years. When bowel cancer is detected early, it is potentially curable, however less than 40% of bowel cancers are picked up in these early stages. Despite the progress being made in developing targeted therapies for other forms of cancer, effective treatments for advanced bowel cancer are still needed. That’s why it is essential that research is directed into the prevention and treatment of bowel cancer. Cancer Council NSW committed $360,000 in funding the Valerie Enid Legge Project Grant led by Professor Xu Dong Zhang at the University of Newcastle. Prof. Zhang has made an important discovery : that a certain protein is linked to the development of advanced bowel cancer. His team has found that blocking this protein has the potential to slow down the growth of the cancer cells. While research is still ongoing, this finding represents a big step towards creating personalised bowel cancer therapies that are effective in targeting the disease at the molecular level.

Season’s Good Wishes
On a different note than above, let’s recognise all the great work that goes on in our local community with marvellous health professionals delivering specialist care and with so many volunteers raising funds and providing valuable support to patients. Our committee salutes you all and offers seasonal best wishes to every one of you.

Coming Events

• December is Decembeard : raising awareness of bowel cancer. See the website www.decembeard.org.au

• There is no meeting of the Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group planned for December
• Please note : the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist will not be holding a meeting in January. The work of branch executive members will be carried on as usual. The next meeting will be held on February 12th.

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


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Cancer Connections - November 2018

Wednesday, November 21, 2018




Relay For Life Southern Highlands
Relay 2018 proved to be a successful fundraising venture for Cancer Council’s multiple services in support of cancer patients. Despite unfavourable weather and the expectation of a lower attendance, the October event still drew 600 participants who carried on the strong tradition of our district’s backing for such activities. With charities right across the board facing reduced incomes in difficult economic times and cost-of-living pressures, it was heartening that $135,000 has already been achieved and further funds are still being received. The total was boosted by the generous donation on behalf of the Sharp family. Monies raised go to fund a number of local initiatives provided by Cancer Council along with their statewide research program on the causes and treatment of many different types of cancer.




Community Hospice
At last the Wingecarribee Shire Council has given approval to the DA submitted for the Community Hospice which is planned to be built at 104-106 Bowral Street, Bowral. A most significant milestone on the journey has now been passed. After such a fraught process in getting this proposal through Council, the Board of the Southern Highlands Community Hospice Ltd will now be able to proceed with their immense task of realising their dream. What was always envisaged was to create specialist palliative care facilities by operating a 10-bed inpatient purpose-built hospice for those who could no longer be cared for in their own home. What is planned will be a welcome addition to existing medical and nursing capabilities in the Wingecarribee. The AGM for members of Southern Highlands Community Hospice Ltd will be held, 6.00 for 6.30 pm, Thursday, November 22, at Annesley, Bowral.

Palliative Care Services
While recognising the importance of progress towards a Community Hospice, we should also acknowledge at the same time what wonderful palliative care services are presently available in the Southern Highlands. For patients with a terminal cancer diagnosis, and for others faced with equally severe medical conditions, the quality of end-of-life care being provided here is exceptional. Thanks to the outstanding work of Mira Glavan, Clinical Nurse Consultant in Palliative Care, nursing and volunteer services in our district continue to be provided at a high standard. Their work is supported by doctors who specialise in this field; the equipment needed to help maintain a person in their home is also organised. Doctors and nurses play a crucial role at this time in the critical issue of appropriate medication. However, when care becomes necessary on a 24/7 basis for a person living alone, staying at home is no longer an option. This is such a time when the bricks-and-mortar hospice is needed.

Coming Events
• Movember continues this month in aid of men’s health, particularly to deal with prostate cancer and depression
• SH Community Hospice AGM, 6.30pm, Thursday, Nov. 22 at Annesley
• Men’s Health forum concludes Monday, Nov. 26, 6pm at St Jude’s Auditorium, Bowral
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. Nov. 27, RSVP Katie
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Nov. 28

• December is Decembeard : raising awareness of bowel cancer. See the website www.decembeard.org.au/

• Please note : the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist will not be holding a meeting in December or January. The work of branch executive members will be carried on as usual. The next meeting will be on February 12th.

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


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Cancer Connections - October 2018

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Saving Life 2019
As the March 2019 NSW election looms closer, some campaign issues are already taking shape. While transport troubles appear to have transfixed many Sydneysiders, those of us living outside the capital can afford to focus on broader matters. On the health policy front, an important issue will be Cancer Council’s call for a future State Government – whichever party is elected - to act on “Saving Life 2019”. That campaign focuses on four areas : reducing junk food advertising; removing tobacco vending machines; introducing a tobacco retail licence fee; and improving funding for lymphoedema services.

In late September I met with Wollondilly MP Jai Rowell and his Electoral Secretary, Tracey Watkins, to raise these questions and present them with copies of the Saving Life booklet. During our discussion of all four asks, Mr Rowell was most supportive on the issues and readily signed the postcard which calls on the Premier to act. I was even more impressed with his willingness to take up those matters within the Liberal Party room. To see further detail on how Cancer Council wants to reduce the impact of cancer in our communities, visit their website at www.cancercouncil.com.au and search “Saving Life 2019”.




Relay for Life Southern Highlands 2018

Relay is a chance for the Southern Highlands community to recognise and celebrate local cancer survivors, patients and their carers, to honour and remember loved ones lost to cancer and to raise money to help save more lives. This year it will be on Moss Vale Showground Sat. October 20, commencing at 11 am. Funds raised at Relays go towards Cancer Council’s vital research, prevention, information and support services. To join up or donate, just Google "relay for life southern highlands 2018". Or you can contact the co-ordinator, Kelly Dinnerville, at Kelly.Dinnerville@nswcc.org.au or telephone (02) 42230242. You could join one of the existing teams or start one of your own with some friends or colleagues. Who will you relay for ?



Men’s Health Month

A forum on issues affecting men’s health will be held on each Monday in November, starting at 6pm sharp at St Jude’s Auditorium. The series, again organised by Tom Carroll, will commence on Mon. Nov. 5. Full program details are on this website - just click on the item under the "News & Events" tab.


Results from Can Assist film night
The movie night fundraiser for Can Assist produced a very good result for the local charity. With proceeds from ticket sales and accompanying raffle, it produced a net result of $3,600 which will all go towards supporting local cancer patients. We again received great assistance from New Empire Cinemas, FISH (Film in the Southern Highlands), and our other sponsors. Many thanks are due to the reliable band of Can Assist volunteers who helped to make the event run smoothly and the many supporters who attended on the night. Special thanks must go to Aurelia and John who made the whole thing possible.
Just in : Aurelia reports that Can Assist has been given a most generous donation from the Moss Vale Ladies Golf Day : $5,200. What a wonderful boost for patients! Many thanks.

Coming Events
• Pink Ribbon Day can be any day in October in support of women with breast or gynaecological cancer. With Halloween coming, Rare Cancers is running “scare4rare” activities. And October is also Dogtober, Ocsober, and Walktober.
• National Carer’s Week will be held Oct. 16 to 22.

• YWCA Encore program, Mittagong, Wednesdays, Oct. 17 to Dec. 5. Details are on this website; look for the sub-menu under the "Local Services" tab.

• Relay for Life Southern Highlands 2018, Moss Vale Showground, 11am Sat. Oct. 20 to 21.
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. Oct.. 23 RSVP Katie
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Oct. 24
• 26th Oct. is National Bandanna Day for CanTeen

• 26th Oct. is RCA Halloween Charity Ball in Sydney Town Hall. All details on RCA website at http://www.rarecancers.org.au

• Men’s Health forum each Monday of November, starting Nov 5, 6pm at St Jude’s
• Can Assist Meeting at Mittagong RSL Club, 10am Nov. 13.
• A “Bouncing Forward Now” program will be held soon. Ring the Cancer Centre for details.

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


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Cancer Connections - September 2018

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Relay for Life Southern Highlands 2018
We kick off this year on Moss Vale Showground at 11 am, Saturday October 20. Relay is a chance for the Southern Highlands community to recognise and celebrate local cancer survivors, patients and their carers, to honour and remember loved ones lost to cancer and to raise money to help save more lives. Funds raised at Relays right across the state go towards Cancer Council’s vital research, prevention, information and support services.

The website for our relay is open and operating. Just search for "relay for life southern highlands 2018" and it will come up. Or you can contact the co-ordinator, Kelly Dinnerville, at Kelly.Dinnerville@nswcc.org.au or telephone (02) 42230242. You could join one of the existing teams or start one of your own with some friends or colleagues. Who will you relay for ?


Daffodil Day 2018

Thanks are due to all those many people who stepped up to a stall on Daffodil Day to make a purchase or simply make a donation. Stalls were well-staffed and operating when I called in on August 24. 


Again there were two stalls set up in Bowral. The one inside Springetts Arcade remains a merchandise stall and it had a cosy spot in the air-conditioned arcade. Meanwhile, in the windy conditions that day, the stall outside the Coles store was far less comfortable but was again staffed by the reliable Lauren McDonald (pictured left). Her table concentrated on the new emphasis of an offering of fresh daffodils which were snapped up by generous donors.





Saving Life 2019
As indicated last month, Cancer Council’s “Saving Life 2019” campaign is getting underway to promote their policies before the next state election. The focus will be on three main areas involving junk food advertising; tobacco; and the funding of lymphoedema services. If you are offered a Saving Life 2019 postcard highlighting those policies, please write in the state electorate in which you live, sign it and return to the collector for presentation to your MP. Your support for the campaign can also be shown by going onto Cancer Council’s website.

Movie Night for Can Assist -- Last Chance !
Last reminder of the film night organised by the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist. “Johnny English Strikes Again” will be screened at New Empire Cinemas, Thurs. September 20. There will be light refreshments along with a glass of wine or soft drink to be enjoyed from 6pm before the movie commences at 6.30pm. Tickets $25 at the box office.

What is Blue September ?
Blue September is about raising awareness of all the cancers affecting men : not just prostate and testicular cancer, but also bowel, lung, liver, pancreatic and other cancers. In terms of fundraising, the month of September is an opportunity to support the Australian Cancer Research Foundation and Australian Prostate Cancer Research.

Coming Events
• Can Assist film night “Johnny English Strikes Again”, New Empire Cinemas, Thurs. Sept 20, 6pm for 6.30pm. Tickets $25 at box office.
• All September is Blue September (see above).
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. Sept. 25, RSVP Katie
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Sept. 26
• October will be : Dogtober; Ocsober; and Walktober.
• National Carer’s Week will be held Oct. 16 to 22.

• YWCA Encore program, Mittagong, Wednesdays, Oct. 17 to Dec. 5. For details on this website : click on the Local Services tab above.

• Relay for Life Southern Highlands 2018 will be held at Moss Vale Showground from 11am Sat. Oct. 20 to 11am Sun. Oct. 21.

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




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Cancer Connections - August 2018

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Saving Life 2019
A conference of 150 advocates and activists in July saw the launch of Cancer Council’s Saving Life 2019 campaign. This will be aimed at building towards the 2019 NSW state election with a clear ask of all candidates whether they will support and promote some important campaign issues. 
These issues will call on the NSW Government to :
• ensure that people working or socialising in bars and clubs are protected from second-hand smoke;
• encourage retailers to stop selling tobacco by banning tobacco vending machines and introducing a licence fee;
• remove junk food advertising from state-owned property to take action on childhood obesity;
• fund public lymphoedema services to ensure people have timely access to evidence-based care.
If you are offered a Saving Life 2019 postcard, please sign it and return to the collector for presentation to your local state MP.

Donation from Southern Highland News
A donation made this month to the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee by Southern Highland News was gratefully received. The donation arose from the publication of the 2018 issue of the Southern Highlands Cancer Services Directory which focussed on blood cancers and for which the committee provided all the editorial content. This financial help is another generous sign of support for our work for cancer patients.

In thanking the newspaper, I said : “Rest assured that we shall put these funds to good use. Firstly, it will allow us to pay the annual fees incurred in maintaining our Committee’s website, Southern Highlands Cancer Connect, at www.sh-cancerconnect.com.au. That means we can continue to spread the word about the range of services available locally to help anyone with a cancer diagnosis. Then, the balance of the funds will all go towards the local branch of Can Assist who do so much to provide financial help to cancer patients in the Wingecarribee.”

Movie Night for Can Assist
As their next fundraiser, the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist have organised another film night. Following the great success of their previous screenings, which have all seen a full house, this one promises to be a light-hearted take on spy action movies. “Johnny English Strikes Again” of course has Rowan Atkinson in the title role and he is beautifully matched by his co-star, Olga Kurylenko. It should be great fun. New Empire Cinemas, Thurs. Sept 20, 6pm for 6.30pm. Tickets $25 at the box office. Details are also on our website.










Daffodil Day
Friday, August 24 will be Daffodil Day and we have a chance to make our annual contribution to the ongoing work of Cancer Council. I learned that the emphasis this year will be moving away a little from the traditional merchandise items on sale and starting to turn more towards an offering of fresh daffodils. Or you can just place a straight donation in the box. Volunteers from the Southern Highlands will be out in force, spread across the district, with stalls at Mittagong Highlands Marketplace; inside Springetts Arcade and outside Coles in Bowral; Coles in Moss Vale; and Sallys Corner, each side of the highway.

Coming Events
• Can Assist Annual Branch Meeting at Mittagong RSL Club, not BDCU, 10am August 21 (Note : 3rd Tuesday, not the 2nd. Please note the change of venue as well.)
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Aug. 22
• Daffodil Day this year will be Friday, August 24.
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. Aug. 28 RSVP Katie
• Can Assist film night “Johnny English Strikes Again”, New Empire Cinemas, Thurs. Sept 20, 6pm for 6.30pm. Tickets $25 at the box office.

• YWCA Encore program, Mittagong, Wednesdays, Oct. 17 to Dec. 5. For details about YWCA Encore, look under the 'Local Services' tab above.

• Advance Notice : Relay for Life Southern Highlands 2018 will be held at Moss Vale Showground from 11am Sat. Oct. 20 to 11am Sun. Oct. 21.

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




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Cancer Connections - July 2018

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Cancer Services Directory 2018 now online

Our 2018 edition is now out in the community thanks to the support of Southern Highland News. If you did miss out on the flip-style A5 booklet, with the Health Guide at the other end, copies will still be available if you enquire at the Southern Highland News office or at the Cancer Centre within the Private Hospital. The next step is for me to let everyone know that, from this website, our Directory can now also be read online, courtesy of Fairfax special publications, as an interactive digital magazine. Simply go to the Directory tab above and click on the link provided. It’s all there.


Southern Highlands Breast Cancer Support Group
Meeting on the 4th Wednesday of each month 10am to 12 noon at the Mittagong RSL, this group provides information and support to breast cancer patients and survivors. The concept is one of building a safe, supportive and confidential environment. For more information, contact the volunteer facilitator, Lesley McPherson, on 0438001177.

Telephone Support Groups

Cancer Council has had over 10 years’ experience at conducting telephone support groups to offer support and information to adults affected by cancer, including patients, families and carers. Wherever you are in Australia, you can talk with people who are in a similar situation and share experiences and information. The groups give and receive support by sharing practical tips, tools and strategies. Each group has 3-8 members and two qualified facilitators. Groups get together over the phone twice a month; it’s free and confidential. To join or find out more, call Cancer Council 13 11 20 or 1300 755 632 or email tsg@nswcc.org.au









CanTeen

If you’re a teenager with a cancer diagnosis, you can connect with others your own age by joining the CanTeen community. No-one is able to understand quite what you are going through as well as another teenager who has been on a similar journey. Teenagers can connect online or face-to-face. Just visit their website for all the information.


Encore Program

Breast cancer survivors in the Southern Highlands will have an opportunity to take part in the next YWCA Encore program in Mittagong. If you or someone you know is interested in joining the program, the next course will run on Wednesdays, Oct. 17 to Dec. 5. For more information, check out their website www.ywcaencore.org.au Registration is essential : Contact Encore’s Co-ordinator, Vicki Totsis, on 02 9285 6264 or email encore@ywcansw.com.au







Drivers needed to fill GAPS
The General and Practical Support program (GAPS) is a volunteer activity supported by Cancer Council NSW. We have volunteer drivers using their own cars, or the vehicle supplied by Cancer Council, to take cancer patients to medical consultations or treatment. At the moment we need more volunteers willing to help with longer trips, which often means taking people to treatment in Sydney and return. If you are able to help, please get in touch with Megan Mattingly (0242230254) who will explain what is involved.

Coming Events
• Note : There will be no meeting of Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group in July. Meetings resume in August.
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, July 25

• Can Assist Annual Branch Meeting, Mittagong RSL Club (not BDCU) 10am August 21

(Note : it’s the 3rd Tuesday, not the 2nd. Please note the change of venue as well.)
• Daffodil Day this year will be Friday, August 24.
* Film Night fundraiser for Can Assist, Sept 20, 6 for 6.30pm. See details under "News & Events" tab above.
• YWCA Encore program, Mittagong, Wednesdays, Oct. 17 to Dec. 5. See details above.
• Advance Notice : Relay for Life Southern Highlands 2018 will be held at Moss Vale Showground from 11am Sat. Oct. 20 to 11am Sun. Oct. 21.

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


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Cancer Connections - June 2018

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Cancer Services Directory 2018

This year’s edition of the Southern Highlands Cancer Services Directory was published as a free insert in Southern Highland News on Friday June 15th. This issue, which was our 10th, has focussed on the important theme of blood cancers. It contains a number of feature articles written for us around that topic by Dr Silvia Ling, Dr Vince Roche, Rare Cancers Australia, and the Leukaemia Foundation. The material provides much needed information about this lesser-known aspect of the cancer field. If you did miss out on the flip-style A5 booklet, with the Health Guide at the other end, copies will still be available if you enquire at the Southern Highland News office or at the Cancer Centre within the Private Hospital. Our Directory can now also be read online, courtesy of Fairfax special publications, as an interactive digital magazine. Just go to our Directory tab above and click on the link provided on that page.


Can Assist’s new venue
Starting with the June meeting, the monthly coming together of local Can Assist volunteers will now be held at the Mittagong RSL Club, in place of BDCU, which is no longer able to assure that a room would be available. The support of the BDCU in providing a meeting place, completely free of charge, was much appreciated by the local charity whose funds are spent entirely in assisting cancer patients in the Wingecarribee. For the time being, the monthly meetings of members will be held at the RSL Club, still at 10am, with a view to making a firm arrangement for the forthcoming year.



Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

With the provocative slogan of “Get behind it !”, the Bowel Cancer Awareness campaign continues throughout June. This form of cancer, less acknowledged and less discussed than it really should be, remains a major cause of death among Australians. Something like 80 lives are lost every week to cancers of the bowel. Hence the eye-catching approach being taken to raise awareness of the issue and motivate more people to act on protecting their own health. Red Apple Day is on June 20th to help spread the message. More information is available – just go to http://www.bowelcancerawarenessmonth.org


“Stars of the Highlands Dance for Cancer”
A great night and a great result on the fundraising front for the dance extravaganza. This year’s event, following on the success of the initial one last year, was even bigger and better and resulted in raising around $53,000. These funds will go towards Cancer Council’s projects in the region, including continuing support for their services in transporting local cancer patients to and from their medical appointments and treatment. The winners of the dance event were Patrick Glanville and Monique Barrios, who also took out best costume, and the trophy for most funds raised went to Joh Bailey, with more than $13,000 donated. A fantastic achievement by all concerned and a new way to have fun in aid of a good cause.

Coming Events
• June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month with Red Apple Day on the 20th
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. June 26 RSVP Katie
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, June 27
• “Passion on the Field” an RCA event at Royal Randwick, July 7 – all details can be found on the Rare Cancers website at https://www.rarecancers.org.au/events
• Can Assist Meeting at Mittagong RSL Club, not BDCU, 10am July 10.
Please note the change of venue.
*  Cancer Support Group : Please note that the meeting planned for 24th July has been cancelled.

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


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Cancer Connections - February 2018

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Haematology services improved

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


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


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

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

Mount Kosciuszko Challenge

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



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

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

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


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Cancer Connections - January 2018

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

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

   • support people with lymphoedema

   • protect the community from tobacco

   • improve access to medical cannabis

   • protect our kids from junk food marketing

   • employ more Aboriginal workers in cancer services.

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

Sunday @ Centennial

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


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

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

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

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

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


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