Cancer Connections

Beating Cancer in the Highlands ... This column is brought to you regularly by the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee and is first published in the Lifestyle section of the Southern Highland News. It is designed to inform everybody of matters relating to cancer in our local community and the wider society. We aim to focus on local news, forthcoming events, services and other cancer issues.

Cancer Connections - April 2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The removal of chemo co-payments

An end is now in sight for the practice of some public hospitals charging cancer patients a co-payment for their chemotherapy. At other public hospitals, these drugs were provided at no charge, creating a bit of a lottery depending on where you happened to be treated. The recent NSW election has brought about the change. After the ALP promised to abolish the co-payment, the Baird Government made the same commitment and then went on to include charges for the drugs for treatment of HIV, hepatitis, cystic fibrosis and organ transplants as well. We now await an announcement of when these fees will no longer be charged.

Cancer Services Directory 2015 now available

With the publication of this year’s Southern Highlands Cancer Services Directory inside the Southern Highland News last month, we have been getting feedback and reactions to the new format. This has been the first time in our 7 years of issuing the Directory that it has been combined with the Southern Highlands Health Guide in one booklet. The responses so far have been most positive about the change to a two-cover “flip” booklet and its A5 format also remains popular. Missed your copy ? Some spare copies are available from the Cancer Centre within the private hospital. As well as that, the whole Directory can now be viewed online from this website simply by clicking on the Directory tab above.


BowelCare Program

I have received word that the well known bowel screening program run by BowelCare Australia will be using a new test kit this year. The kits, which are distributed to pharmacies throughout our district by Rotary, will use the updated technology of a Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) to screen for occult blood. Participating pharmacies in the Southern Highlands should have the new kits available from May 2nd (if not earlier) through to June 27th. The $15 cost for each kit covers pathology testing and notification of results to both you and your nominated doctor.

Bowel cancer refers to a cancer in any part of the large bowel (the colon or the rectum). It is sometimes also known as colorectal cancer. Bowel cancer grows from the inner lining of the bowel and may develop from growths on the bowel wall called polyps. Polyps are usually benign (or harmless), but they may become malignant (cancerous) over time. Information from Cancer Council NSW indicates that bowel cancer is the second most common cancer affecting people in Australia with nearly 17,000 diagnosed with the disease in one year. About one in 17 men and one in 25 women will develop bowel cancer before the age of 75. So, why not “get checked” ?


Cancer Research News

Did you know that Cancer Council NSW spent $14.2 million in the 2013/14 financial year on research into various aspects of cancer ? The total amount invested in their world-class research over the last 10 years has been more than $130m. That’s made possible by the combined efforts of communities like our own across NSW, raising funds to go towards cancer research, prevention, information and support services. What is important here is that this is the only organisation putting funds towards the support of all cancers. Research also helps to prioritise the areas where we can have the greatest impact, so this enhances the outcomes for current and future cancer patients.

Coming Events

• “Field of Women”, Melbourne, May 9
• Mothers Day Classic at Bong Bong Racecourse, 3km walk & 5km run, May 10
• National Volunteer Week, May 11-17
• Can Assist meeting, Thurs. May 14, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• Biggest Morning Tea, Thurs. May 28 or on nearby dates. The local Cancer Centre will be holding their Biggest Morning Tea on Monday 25th

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


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Cancer Connections - May 2014

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Relay For Life 2014

Remember the day ? Saturday, 3rd May ? The weather : cold, wet and windy. Did that deter people from attending ? No way ! Over 1000 people from the Southern Highlands turned up in their various teams to remember those taken by cancer and to celebrate those who presently cope with the disease. Our keynote speaker, Barbara Williams, was both entertaining and inspiring as she described the excitement she had in forming a breast cancer dragonboat team and competing at regattas. The full text of what she had to say can now be read on this website : just click on the News & Events item.















The Survivors and Carers Walk signalled the commencement of the actual relay. Andrew Hearn, the Berrima auctioneer, led the way again this time with a swirl of his bagpipes and a complete indifference to the rain falling at that time. Despite the conditions, this year’s Relay was a resounding success ! For starters, the target of $200,000 had been reached before the day even began. By the end of May, the funds raised were in excess of $284,000 !. Truly this is an amazing result and demonstrates once again the tremendous generosity of the Southern Highlands community in helping others.













Donations put to work
How does Cancer Council use these funds ? Firstly there is the costly area of research into the causes and the treatment of cancer. Cancer Council NSW will spend over $15 million on research alone this year. In our local area, they finance the Patient Transport Service bus, the GAPS program supporting patients and carers in their own homes, and the information resource stands now available in a number of medical centres. They support the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee and provided the funds to establish this website. And all local cancer patients and carers have access to their wide range of support services : the Helpline on 13 11 20; telephone, online and one-to-one peer support programs; financial assistance; prevention programs; the Sunsmart schools and community speakers programs in addition to their extensive cancer information services.

Miss Relay 2014
Maybe conditions on the day caused a reduction in the number of contestants – there were 20 entrants two years ago – but nevertheless a quality field turned out this year. Before the contestants headed off to seek contributions, the early betting possibly favoured the seductive Nicola, who may have been lacking in dress sense but more than made up for it in (shall we say) maturity of years. It was Jasmina, however, who ultimately stole the show in a decisive manner. Known to his friends as James Smith from Krebs 4 Us, our new Miss Relay was strong enough to even defeat the 2012 winner, Miss Randy Tart.

Obviously with an eye to the weather, James chose a fetching little number in brilliant red satin, set off with an eye-catching white polka dot pattern on the bodice. Already streets ahead in the fashion stakes as it was, Jasmina then pulled the proverbial rabbit out of the bucket : a cheque for $500 from his employer. This was enough to trump all other collections and the title was his.

Mother’s Day Classic
By the time this column goes to press, the inaugural Bowral Mother's Day Classic Walk for Breast Cancer will have been held at Bong Bong Racecourse, Sunday, May 11th. Proceeds will go towards the National Breast Cancer Foundation. The success of this venture is all due to the great work done by Georgie Cousens, Jess Hunter, and their team of volunteers who decided to establish this as an annual event.

BowelCare Australia Program for 2014
Most pharmacies in the Southern Highlands are participating in the BowelCare Australia Program. Kits are available at pharmacies through to May 24th and must be returned to a participating pharmacy for pathology testing prior to June 7th. The $10 cost for each kit covers the testing and notification of results. So, why not “Get checked”.

Coming Events
• National Volunteer Week, May 12th – 18th
• Biggest Morning Teas will be held in the week beginning May 19th
• National Palliative Care Week, May 25th – 31st
• World No Tobacco Day, May 31st
• June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month
• Can Assist meeting, Thurs., June 12th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital.

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


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Cancer Connections - April 2014

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Cancer Services Directory 2014 now available online

The 6th edition of the Southern Highlands Cancer Services Directory was recently published in the Southern Highland News. The text articles for this year’s issue were provided by the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee. Following a theme of “Support Groups and Services”, we have included all the information we have on what help is available locally for cancer patients and their families. Reception of the booklet has been most favourable. If you missed that issue, copies of the 24-page A5 booklet are still available from the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre within the private hospital. As well as that, a copy of all of the 2014 Directory has been placed on this website under the Directory tab above and available to download in pdf.


Committee loses Kate Partington

At our April meeting, the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee said our farewell to one of our longer serving members, Kate Partington. Currently the Nursing Unit Manager within the Wingecarribee Community Health Centre, Kate had to tell us that this would be her last meeting since she will be transferring out of the district. The committee thanked Kate warmly for her contribution to our work, particularly her advice, her knowledge of health services and personnel, and her ability to identify gaps in health services to patients. Kate’s new position will be as Community Aged Care Manager with the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District and we all wish her every success in her new role.

BowelCare Australia Program for 2014

We have been informed of the 2014 details for this valuable program, which is organised by Rotary. Participating pharmacies in the Southern Highlands will have the kits available from April 26th (if not earlier) through to May 24th. The completed kits must be returned to a participating pharmacy for pathology testing prior to June 7th. The $10 cost for each kit covers the testing and notification of results. From the 2013 BowelCare Program, 78 people were detected with bowel cancer or polyps and another 152 positive results are pending investigation. 
So, why not “Get checked”.

Relay For Life 2014

Relay for Life returns to the Southern Highlands on Saturday 3rd May at Eridge Park Oval and runs through to Sunday morning. Keep that date free and let’s work for an even bigger event than in 2012. The themes for Relay are “Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back !” and proceeds support the many worthwhile activities of Cancer Council NSW. To go to the website for Relay just click here This site will allow supporters to form a team to take part. You can join a team or, better still, start your own. Who will you relay for ?


Mother’s Day Classic

The inaugural Bowral Mother's Day Classic Walk for Breast Cancer will be held on Bong Bong Racecourse on Sunday, May 11th, starting at 9.30 a.m. Proceeds go towards the National Breast Cancer Foundation. The event offers a 3km walk for participation; it is not a timed race. For all details, registration closing dates and how to enter, go to  http://www.mothersdayclassic.com.au/


Coming Events

• BowelCare kits available at pharmacies, April 26th to May 24th
• Relay For Life, Eridge Park Oval, Sat. May 3rd through to Sun. morning
• Can Assist meeting, Thurs., May 8th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital.
• Mother’s Day Classic Walk for Breast Cancer, Bong Bong Racecourse, May 11, 9.30am
• International Nurses Day, May 12th (Florence Nightingale’s birthdate)
• National Volunteer Week, May 12th – 18th
• Biggest Morning Tea, week beginning May 19th

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


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Cancer Connections - March 2014

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cancer Services Directory 2014

Our 6th edition of the Southern Highlands Cancer Services Directory was recently published in February 26th issue of the Southern Highland News. Adopting the theme of “Support Groups and Services”, we have included all the information we have on what help is available locally for cancer patients and their families. Reception of the booklet has been most favourable. If you missed that issue, copies of the 24-page A5 booklet are still available from the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre within the private hospital. As well as that, a copy of all of the 2014 Directory has been placed on this website under the Directory tab above and available to download in pdf.


Can Assist’s High Tea hits a high note

What a fantastic success this entertaining venture was ! Held at Southern Highlands Wines and attended by over 120 people, this major event easily exceeded its target by raising the sum of $11,500. Cancer patients throughout the district will be the better off because all the funds raised go towards supporting them. The fabulous result was due to the untiring efforts of the event co-ordinator Joan Harrison and her team who were strongly supported by people like Jackie Meyers, editor of Southern Highland News, Desmond Freeman, Margaret Urlich, Jenny Davies, Dr Nick Hartnell, Janet Welling from Blue Illusion, and many more. Congratulations to everyone involved.






Pictured (L to R) : Janet Welling, Margaret Urlich, Joan Harrison.


Haematology in the Southern Highlands
As reported in last month’s column, we look like having a haematologist able to provide consultations at the Cancer Centre here in Bowral in the near future. The exact details are still being worked out. When all the arrangements are in place, we will provide more information here.

Lymphoedema treatment
We now have an added local service : a breast prosthesis and lymphoedema service. Warina Walker is a qualified practitioner who specialises in the treatment of lymphoedema including lymphatic drainage, exercise therapy, bandaging and the fitting of compression garments, prosthesis and post mastectomy bras. Warina is visiting the private hospital on the first Monday of each month. Telephone 0488 909 306.
Also, we now have a Care Co-ordinator to help people with gastro-intestinal or urinary bladder cancers : Dr Roberta (Bobby) Elston will be visiting the Southern Highlands under a funding arrangement for the next two years.

Relay For Life 2014
Relay for Life returns to the Southern Highlands on Saturday 3rd May at Eridge Park Oval and runs through to Sunday morning. Keep that date free and let’s work for an even bigger event than in 2012. The themes for Relay are “Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back !” 

The website for Southern Highlands Relay is now operational. Just click here
This site will allow supporters to form a team to take part. You can join a team or, better still, start your own.
Who will you relay for ?

Coming Events
• March is Melanoma Month.
• Close the Gap Day, March 20th
• Brigadoon at Bundanoon, Sat. April 5. Volunteers’ efforts can benefit the Cancer Centre Trust Fund. To volunteer, ring the Cancer Centre, 4862 9470.
• Can Assist meeting, Thurs., April 10, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital.

Advance Notice : The Bowral Mother's Day Classic Walk for Breast Cancer, will be held on Bong Bong Racecourse, 9.30 am on Sunday, May 11th. Proceeds go towards the National Breast Cancer Foundation. For all details about the event and how to register, click here.

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



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