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 - 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 - 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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Cancer Connections - September 2017

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Portacath insertion issue
Our committee has been seeking an improvement in the provision of Portacath devices to uninsured patients so they will no longer have to travel to Concord Hospital for the insertion. We had asked for the brief operation to be performed at Bowral & District Hospital and were advised back in July that the issue was currently under discussion. No definite answer has been received yet, but one possible option is that, if Campbelltown Hospital were to be approved for vascular surgery, then public patients from the Southern Highlands might be able to have the device inserted there. Still a journey, but certainly a shorter one than to Concord and back. More information when it comes to hand.






Pictured at Springetts Arcade (L to R)  : Deb Wrigley, Christine Graham, Jonathon & Miranda Hassett


Daffodil Day well supported
Once again this August the volunteers of the Wingecarribee turned out on Daffodil Day to help collect funds for Cancer Council NSW. There were stalls set up at Mittagong’s Highlands Marketplace and at Springetts Arcade and Coles Supermarket in Bowral, offering a range of merchandise from beautiful bunches of fresh daffodils, to the badges, pens, keyrings and toy bears which carry the brand. At the Springetts stall, I met Team Leader Christine Graham, assisted by Deb Wrigley and Miranda & Jonathon Hassett. Christine had commenced her role last year when she took over from the well-known John Sider. Over at Coles, Lauren McDonald was fully in charge of the table for her 11th year ! Through the generous support of Southern Highlands residents, the contributions raised will go towards the many avenues by which Cancer Council assists those with a cancer diagnosis. The latest form of that help to our own locals is the new car purchased for the sole use by GAPS volunteers to transport Wingecarribee cancer patients.


Pictured at Coles Supermarket : Lauren McDonald



















10 years and going strong

Members of the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee were a little surprised when I pointed out recently that we had just passed the 10-year milestone for the volunteer group. Back in 2007 a small band of like-minded people came together to see what could be done to improve services for local cancer patients. A great boost came when Cancer Council NSW used some of the funds from Relay for Life to provide a bus to take patients to Campbelltown and back for their treatment. The bus still runs today, five days a week, manned by volunteer drivers. Since then, the committee has gone on to provide the material for the annual Cancer Services Directory, now in its 9th year, and for this regular monthly column, both supported by Southern Highland News. These two initiatives are to inform people about patient services available in our district : for transport, accommodation, legal and financial help, along with programs to assist after cancer surgery. That led naturally to the committee starting its own website to put all the information online. Which brought about this website : Southern Highlands Cancer Connect, now in its 7th year of operation.


During those 10 years, our committee has called for improved services in palliative care, haematology, and portacatheter insertion, and supported the limits placed on smoking tobacco in public places. We have helped in the formation and operation of the GAPS service. Currently we channel donations through to local cancer charities, promote various fundraisers, and work closely with local Can Assist and numerous cancer support groups. These are achievements of which we can be modestly proud and I thank all committee members, past and present.

Coming Events
• Bright Pink Lipstick Day for awareness of hereditary breast & ovarian cancer, Sept 22
• Blue September is raising awareness of cancers affecting men.
• Can Assist event : A “Secret Garden Party” in Bowral, 3-6pm, Sunday Sept 24
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. Sept. 26 RSVP Katie
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Sept. Sept. 27
• October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
• “Light the Night” for Leukaemia Foundation, Bradman Oval, 5.30-8.30pm Oct. 6
• Can Assist Meeting 10am October 10th at BDCU, Bowral
* YWCA Encore program will be conducted from Oct. 11th to Nov. 29th. Contact Susie 0419 221 433. 
      For details of the program, see the webpage under the "Local Services" tab above.
• National Bandanna Day for CanTeen, Oct 27
• RCA function Sick or Treat Charity Ball, Sydney, Oct. 27.
* Great movie night : "Murder on the Orient Express" - a fundraiser for Can Assist at the New Empire Cinemas, 6 for 5.30pm on Nov. 9th. See all the details in our 'News & Events' column

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 - 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 https://www.cancercouncil.com.au/enrich/  Reservations are essential; telephone 1300 360 541 or email enrich@nswcc.org.au


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 www.themarchcharge.com.au
• Mount Kosciuszko Challenge, March 18. A fundraiser by Rare Cancers Australia, this involves a climb from Thredbo to the summit. To register, visit www.rarecancers.org.au
• “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 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 - April 2016

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Missed the Cancer Services Directory 2016 ?

Never mind. A copy of our Southern Highlands Cancer Services Directory for 2016 can still be picked up from the Cancer Centre within the Southern Highlands Private Hospital. On top of which, if you happen to prefer to read a copy of the booklet online, we can accommodate that as well. The Directory is now easily available and can be accessed by just clicking on the tab Directory above. You will find that Southern Highland News have now made it an interactive digital magazine. It has a number of hyperlinks throughout which will give you instant opening of webpages or email windows. It reads so clearly on a full screen and you can still zoom in even further.


“What did your doctor say ?”
The charity organisation Rare Cancers Australia has developed an innovative app to help cancer patients through their medical consultations. Richard Vines recently outlined to our committee how it all works. The CAN.recall app uses the latest technology to improve the early patient experiences of those diagnosed with cancer. It provides a structured process for asking questions of the clinician (with a set of relevant questions already provided) and for recording the answers during a consultation. This can later be revisited and also replayed for family. CAN.recall is available now for smart phones and tablets on iPhone and Android platforms as a free download. Details are on the Rare Cancers website at www.rarecancers.org.au

Haematology services for the Highlands ?
Further to the item last month which notified of a setback in our efforts to have haematology services provided to uninsured patients here in the Southern Highlands : Readers may not be aware of the fact that self insured haematology patients are able to receive their treatment here at the private hospital while uninsured patients must travel to Liverpool for the same treatment. The planned arrangements for all to be treated locally does not now fit in with the public hospital’s current priorities. Our committee believes that those patients would be far better off if served closer to home, wherever possible. We know that the issue is a far more important one than currently assessed in the public hospital’s priorities and we will continue to press for this much-needed improvement in cancer services.



Relay For Life 2016
With a new venue at Moss Vale Showground and different times for start/finish, the Southern Highlands Relay this year was again a most successful event. The weather was good and the spirit among participants was great. This year’s efforts raised nearly $160,000 and thanks must go to the hardworking committee members who did all the organising and to all those people who attended or who donated. The amount raised will help towards meeting the cost of the great many services provided by Cancer Council NSW.



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 available from all participating pharmacies in the Southern Highlands throughout April and 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
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group meet at private hospital, 10am, April 26. RSVP Jo or Katie on 4862 9470
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Wed. April 27

• Look Good Feel Better program, SH Cancer Centre, Tues. May 10th. For information, select the LGFB tab under the "Local Services" menu above.

Can Assist meeting, Thursday, May 12th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital

• Biggest Morning Teas can be held anytime throughout May or June. There will be one held at the Private Hospital on May 26th.


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




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Cancer Connections - March 2016

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Can Assist Success
Sunday luncheon at Summerlees, organised by the local branch of Can Assist, proved to be as enjoyable an occasion as we all wished it to be. With a beautiful venue as the setting, provided free of charge by the owner, and a meal lovingly prepared by a professional caterer, similarly free of charge, we were set for a pleasant afternoon spent in a good cause. Guest speaker, Dr Joon Kim, gave a most interesting talk to show how he, as a surgeon, approaches the patient relationship and what he personally brings to that partnership. A further highlight was the drawing of the raffle whose first prize was an artwork, donated by Desmond Freeman, showing St Mark’s Basilica in Venice. Branch President, Jann Wadsworth, thanked all supporters who had donated or freely given their time to ensure that it was such a financial success. The function is the only major fundraiser they will hold this year.

Pictured above : Guest Speaker, Dr Joon Kim addressing the Can Assist luncheon.

Pictured below : Some of the many supporters of Can Assist who enjoyed the pleasant surroundings of Summerlees.

(All photographs courtesy of AJ Moran Photography)








Haematology services not good enough
We have just received word that the long-awaited arrangements for public (uninsured) haematology patients to be treated at the Cancer Centre within the Southern Highlands Private Hospital will not go ahead. This is enormously disappointing since the medical staff concerned and the private hospital were keen to finalise the details so that public patients could be treated here in the highlands, just as private patients already are. Instead, they will have to continue travelling to Liverpool for treatment. We understand that the public hospital has other priorities but our committee will continue to press for this much-needed improvement in cancer services and you will hear a lot more about this matter.

Cancer Services Directory 2016
Readers of this column are reminded that our Southern Highlands Cancer Services Directory will be published as a free booklet in the Southern Highland News on Wednesday, March 23rd. For this year’s edition, the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee has chosen as its theme the issue of rare and less common cancers. In addition to articles explaining the position of people diagnosed with a rare cancer there is an article provided by Richard Vines, a Director of Rare Cancers Australia. The booklet will, as usual, contain information about all local cancer services as well as an up-to-date comprehensive directory of related listings.

Relay For Life 2016

Have you registered for this year’s Relay For Life ? Or have you formed your own team ? Relay approaches soon, kicking off at the Moss Vale Showground from 12 noon Saturday April 2nd to 12 

noon Sunday, April 3rd. If you cannot attend, for whatever reason, you can still support the event by making a donation towards the fundraising target of a friend or family member. This event, which comes to the Highlands every second year, provides substantial financial support for Cancer Council’s wide range of services. To register for Relay, or just to make a donation, visit the website at http://fundraising.cancer.org.au


New committee members

Following up on the closer association between our committee and Rare Cancers Australia, at our March meeting we welcomed Richard Vines as a new member. In giving us some further information about the work of his charity organisation, Richard went on to outline an innovative app - CAN.recall - which they have developed. More details on that next month. At the same meeting, we also made welcome the Nursing Unit Manager at Wingecarribee Community Health, Carolyn Le Compte. It will be of enormous benefit to our group to have Carolyn as a member since her position gives her a unique insight into which particular services a cancer patient is entitled to.

Coming Events
• Highlands Tenpin for men’s health forums, Fri. March 18. Telephone 0418223696
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group meet at private hospital, 10am, March 22. RSVP Jo or Katie on 4862 9470
• Cancer Services Directory published in Southern Highland News, Wed. March 23
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Wed. March 23
• Can Assist meeting, Thursday, April 14th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• Relay For Life 2016 on Sat.-Sun. April 2-3 at Moss Vale Showground

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






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