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 - December 2013

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Martine’s success story
Results are in for the unique effort by Martine Rolff, to raise funds for the Can Assist. Martine made the amazingly generous decision to have her long tresses cut off and donated for the making of wigs for women undergoing chemotherapy. As a result, 45cm of beautiful hair are now available – enough to make two wigs.

On top of that, she used the special event as a fundraiser for the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist. Donation tins were available where she is employed at the Robertson Pharmacy, they were spread around other businesses in the village, and online donations were made as well. The original target was $1000. So far, $2,400 has been collected. A fabulous achievement, Martine !

The so-called “forgotten cancers”
“Many cancer types are grossly under-funded and under-resourced, yet they are among the most common causes of cancer deaths in Australia. We call these the forgotten cancers,” said Assoc. Professor Freddy Sitas of Cancer Council NSW. Together, they account for 35% of all cancer deaths in NSW.

Figures recently released by Cancer Council NSW show pancreatic and thyroid cancer have seen the least improvements in cancer death reduction over a 20 year study period — only a 6% reduction in death rate, while liver cancer has seen an increase. Under-funded cancers such as pancreatic cancer, cancer of the unknown primary, and liver cancer are in the top ten most common causes of cancer death in Australia, while brain cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death in children and young people. On average, 40 Australians die from these forgotten cancers every day. Because of this, Cancer Council NSW has made many of these cancers a key focus for new research. Brain and pancreatic cancer are our second and third most funded cancers, each receiving close to $1m in research funding this year. To read the full article on the Cancer Council website, click here

Season’s best wishes
This Christmas season, let’s pause and spare a thought for the enormous number of good folk in the Southern Highlands who work so consistently to support those with cancer. Let’s remember the volunteer drivers who take patients in the bus to Campbelltown and back every day; the volunteers who help make treatment more comfortable at the Cancer Centre; the GAPS volunteers who assist patients and carers in their home or take them to medical appointments; the organisers of support groups; and all those many people collecting and fundraising for Cancer Council, Can Assist, and the other charities. Life would be harder for so many patients without such wonderful community spirit. Best wishes to you all.

Coming Events

• Please note : There is no meeting of Can Assist in January.
• February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
• World Cancer Day is on Tuesday, February 4th.
• Can Assist meeting, Thurs, February 13th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital.

• “High Tea / High Fashion” fundraiser for Can Assist at Southern Highland Wines, 2-5pm, Saturday, February 22nd. For tickets, please call 0474 647 506. 


• Cancer Services Directory 2014 will be out on Wednesday, February 26th.

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)
0407 234 780 or


Cancer Connections - November 2013

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Martine makes the final cut

Here’s another story to inspire you : Martine Rolff, who is employed at the Robertson Village Pharmacy, plans to cut off her very long hair and donate it so that it can be used to create a wig for someone undergoing treatment for cancer. The big cut is happening at Robertson but please note that it will now take place on Saturday, November 30th. 

Meanwhile, to mark the event and recognise Martine's gesture, collection tins are available at a number of local businesses in Robertson with all the proceeds going to the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist. The event is being publicised through the mycause website. To find Martine’s webpage, click here . The page will allow for you to contribute online and help her to reach her $1000 target. Donations made to our district's Can Assist branch are used to financially support cancer patients in the Southern Highlands with pharmacy bills, equipment needs, petrol and accommodation subsidies.

For the fundraising result, see our News & Events column.

Wigs from Wollondilly

While on the topic of wigs, did you know how the extensive wig library held at the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre actually came about ? This wig resource was established jointly with funds from the Cancer Support Group from Wollondilly and from the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre Trust Fund. With the $6000 raised, the Wollondilly Support Group also made a cabinet to house the wigs and sample turbans and scarves. From time to time, cancer patients from the Wollondilly Shire receive treatment in the Southern Highlands and they have the backing of their active local support group. 

Meetings are held on the 1st Monday of each month at the Picton Bowling Club at 1.30pm. The Secretary can be contacted through their website :  click here  or by telephoning 46773285.

Cancer figures
Last month I referred to the high rates of cancer in Australia. This month it is worth looking at how this plays out here in the Wingecarribee LGA. Figures from the “Health Profile 2013” document reveal that this district has a higher incidence of cancer than the NSW average (522 per 100,000 population compared with 470 for the state as a whole). For the most common types of cancer – prostate, breast, and colon cancer, plus melanoma - Wingecarribee’s incidence rate was higher than the NSW average, whereas for lung cancer our figure was a little lower. These statistics, from the NSW Cancer Registry and the Cancer Institute NSW, cover the years 2004-2008 and are the latest available statewide. I shall report on the more recent situation when fresh data is finally published.

Relay for Life website now open
The website for the Southern Highlands Relay for Life 2014 event is operational at and this allows supporters to form a team to take part in Relay which will be happening on Eridge Park oval next May 3rd. 
Who will you relay for ?

Coming Events
• November is Movember to raise funds and awareness for prostate and testicular cancer and men’s mental health.
• Martine Rolff’s Good Hair Day occurs at Robertson, Saturday, November 30th.
• December 5th is International Volunteer Day. Have you considered volunteering ?
• Can Assist meeting, Thursday, December 12th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital.

Future events - two to pencil in :
** On Saturday 22nd February, 2014, a High Tea will be held at Southern Highland Wines. Reserve the date ! This is the major fundraiser of the year for the local branch of Can Assist.
** On Saturday 3rd May, 2014, the district will come together at Eridge Park oval for ‘Relay For Life’. Keep that date free and let’s work for an even bigger event than we had in 2012.

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)
0407 234 780 or


Recent Posts


Local Health District donation colon cancer daffodil Summerlees lymphoedema blood cancer Cancer Council accor hotels accommodation YWCA Encore cancer committee Cancer Centre portacatheter Mount Kosciuszko Challenge southern highlands cancer services directory nicotine Wollondilly Cancer Support Group tobacco pink support group WHAM Portacath IPTAAS "Saving Life 2019" men's health month website cancer services directory palliative preventing cancer CanAct lymphoma McGrath Foundation Rare Cancers Australia candidates leukaemia colorectal Look Good...Feel Better Daffodil Day smoking General and Practical Support Biggest Morning Tea Dance for Cancer LG...FB Martine Rolff breast cancer support group BowelCare Walk for Breast Cancer Encore program community service breast Jai Rowell bowel cancer prostate cancer March Charge relay for life prostate cancer support group Quit Smoking SWSLHD Venice Carnivale "Connecting the Future" cancer "forgotten cancers" breast cancer Southern Highlands Community Hospice Wingecarribee haematologist cancer support group BMT southern highlands cancer connect "Light the Night" colon transport myeloma prostate support group cancer research ywcaencore cancers of the blood DonateLife cancer prevention e-cigarettes Mother's Day Classic zumba patient transport Can Assist Living Well Bounce Forward bereavement VIHS bowel volunteer Southern Highlands Cancer Centre sunsmart community hospice DNA Miss Relay prostate business awards highlands cancer "Thing about cancer" sharon stewart Peter Coupland chemotherapy cancer support GAPS hospice community cancer fund oncology southern highlands cancer leadership committee southern highlands screening "less common cancers" smoking rates haematology smoke free Emergency Care co-payments palliative care paws pet therapy melanoma