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 2017

Monday, January 23, 2017

Southern Highlands Cancer Centre Trust Fund

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

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

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

Healthy Lifestyle Program

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

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

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

For full details and the schedule of where all sessions will be held, visit the Cancer Council NSW website at  Reservations are essential; telephone 1300 360 541 or email

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

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

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)
0407 234 780 or


Cancer Connections - February 2015

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Greater support for regional patients

It was encouraging to learn of a commitment made by the NSW Liberal and National parties to implement further improvements to the IPTAAS scheme. This is the Isolated Patient Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme which provides assistance to those rural and regional patients who need to travel a long distance in NSW for medical treatment. The enhanced program being proposed would see an increase in the petrol subsidy, increases in the accommodation subsidy rates, and a reduction in the patient co-payment. Commitments were given that, if re-elected, the Government would also simplify the IPTAAS forms, make some further services eligible for claims, and make the claims process itself much easier for people to use. It is hoped that the State Opposition will give a similar undertaking to match these improvements.

Our Patron the Mayor

The Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee is very pleased to announce that the Mayor of Wingecarribee Shire, Duncan Gair, has accepted the position of Patron of the committee. In indicating his willingness to fulfill this role, the Mayor acknowledged that the Cancer Leadership Committee’s annual Cancer Services Directory is a very important publication assisting all those affected by cancer in our shire.

Cancer research

In a new study by Cancer Research UK, almost half the participants did not see their GP despite suffering cancer "alarm" warning signs. Commenting on the study, Professor Sandro Porceddu, a radiation oncologist and clinical advisor to Cancer Council Australia, says one in two Australians will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. This is not meant as a scary statistic; it is not a cause for alarm so much as a call for awareness. "In Australia, we have one of the highest cancer survival rates in the world," Professor Porceddu says. "If detected early, we have a much greater chance of surviving." For instance, did you know that an Australian dies of melanoma every six hours. Every two and a half hours someone dies of bowel cancer, yet 90% of such deaths would have been prevented if detected early.

The conclusion from these findings is that, if you have a concern about a health problem which has not gone away, consult your GP. Early detection saves lives.

Bounce Forward !

The valuable initiative ‘Bounce Forward’ (previously called ‘Living Well’) is a two-day program which will be held at the Southern Highlands Private Hospital on Saturday and Sunday, 21st and 22nd March. To find out more or to make a booking, contact Jo Pearson, the Nursing Unit Manager at the Cancer Centre, on 4862 9472.

Cancer Services Directory 2015

Our material for this year’s edition of the Southern Highlands Directory is ready for publication. For this year our focus is going to centre on cancer within families and what help is available for families in that situation. A big change from previous years will see the booklet combined with the Southern Highlands Health Guide to make a super-sized health issue for 2015. Publication date will be Wednesday, March 25th with your free copy available in that day’s Southern Highland News. Don’t miss it. To place an advertisement in the new bumper booklet, please contact the News sales team on 4861 2333.

Coming Events

• February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Hold an “afternoon teal” in February to support Ovarian Cancer Australia. Their website is :

• Teal Ribbon Day, fundraising for ovarian cancer programs, is on Feb. 25th
• Can Assist meeting, Thurs. March. 12th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• ‘Bounce Forward’ program, Sat.-Sun., March 21-22. Details above.

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)
0407 234 780 or


Cancer Connections - October 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

New Cancer Centre -- Jo Pearson reports :
It is now 6 months since the move from Holmhale Street to the new purpose-built unit in the Private Hospital, fitted with 7 recliner chairs and 2 private bedrooms. There is ample space for family and friends to accompany patients in a bright, relaxed atmosphere with the availability of watching television or listening to their own music whilst maintaining privacy and confidentiality. The Centre continues to have a wonderful team of volunteers who serve drinks and lunch throughout the day to make the patients’ stay more comfortable.
(Nursing Unit Manager, Jo Pearson, pictured, far right, with her staff members)

The Centre is a Day Only Unit and functions primarily to provide the administration of chemotherapy while also catering for the administration of other day only treatments including blood, blood products, venesection and targeted therapies. It provides cancer services to everyone in the Southern Highlands community either as privately insured patients or uninsured (public) patients. A brand new service that has evolved with the move has been that of Care Pets Interchange Australia, where pet therapy volunteers interact with patients and carers during their visit to the Centre.

2ST Girls Night In event
This fun event at Mittagong RSL Club on October 24th has been organised in aid of both the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre and Pink Ribbon Day for breast cancer research. Tickets $40 can be purchased from Mittagong RSL or call them on 4872 6700. Following last year’s success, this should be a fantastic night. Dress code : wear some PINK.

Preventing Cancer – some simple steps
Southern Highlands Cancer Connect has just developed a whole new section. While the emphasis across this website has been to provide information about the range of cancer services available locally, our new section looks at ways to help you avoid cancer in the first place.

There can be no absolute guarantee that one will not contract cancer at some stage in life. However, while some risk factors are outside our control, we can do something to reduce the risk. One way of minimising that risk is through following a healthy lifestyle. Under the new “Prevention” tab above we provide some simple steps to make this possible. Take a look

News in Brief :
** Local nurse, Rebecca Garske, has returned from Africa after successfully climbing Mt Kilimanjaro to raise funds for prostate cancer research. A fuller account is in the “News and Events” section of this website.
** “Living Well” is a new program providing the tools for people to find peace while they live with and cope with an illness. Commences in November. For enquiries and bookings, ring 4862 9472.
** A Prostate Cancer Support Group is being formed in the Southern Highlands with its initial event being a Tenpin Bowling night at Mittagong from 6pm on Friday 9th November. For information about this fundraiser for the group, see all the details in the “News and Events” section of this website. 
** The Southern Highlands Relay For Life organisers have been shortlisted for a 2012 Business Award for excellence in the Event category. This is a great recognition of the wonderful work achieved by that committee in mounting such a fabulous event last April.

Coming Events
• October is “Girls Night In” month
• Pink Ribbon Days for breast cancer research, Fri. Oct 19th & Mon 22nd
• LG…FB workshop, at the SH Cancer Centre, Tuesday, October 23rd
• 2ST Girls Night In event, Mittagong RSL, Oct 24th. Bookings at RSL.
• “Carer Safari” event for carers, Mittagong RSL, 6pm, Oct 24th . Bookings 48682676
• Bandanna Day, teens against cancer, Friday October 26th
• Movember, for men’s health, focus on prostate cancer & depression in men
• Can Assist meeting, 10am Thursday, Nov. 8th at the old Bowral Hospital
• Tenpin Bowling fundraiser for prostate cancer support group, Nov. 9th
• New “Living Well” course commences Nov. 17th. Telephone 4862 9472
• “Living Well After Cancer” program, Nov. 24th Telephone 1300 200 558.

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)
0407 234 780 or


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