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 - 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 - April 2018

Thursday, April 19, 2018

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

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


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

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

Look Good Feel Better workshop

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



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

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

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


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Cancer Connections - March 2018

Thursday, March 22, 2018

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



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

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


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

Blood Cancer Support Group

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


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

New Co-ordinator for GAPS

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


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

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


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Cancer Connections - November 2017

Saturday, November 18, 2017

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


Portacatheter insertion issue

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

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



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

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

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

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



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Cancer Connections - July 2017

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

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

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


Cancer Council car helps to fill some GAPS

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


Rare Cancers Australia

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


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

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

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

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


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Cancer Connections - June 2017

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

“Connecting the Future” seminar success

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

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

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



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



PAWS Pet Therapy celebration

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


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

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

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

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


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Cancer Connections - 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 - 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 - 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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