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 2015

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Cancer Services Directory 2015

Our committee is currently putting together material for this year’s edition of our Southern Highlands Directory. This time our focus is on cancer within families. 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. If you provide a service for cancer patients or carers and you would like to be given a free listing for the very first time, or if you wish to make an alteration to your current listing in the cancer directory, please get in touch with me. Contact details are below. To place an advertisement in the new bumper booklet, contact the News sales staff on 4861 2333.

Can Assist success

Just in case you missed our note in the December blog on this website, the final fundraising result from Can Assist’s ‘Venice Carnivale’ was $10,077 – a wonderful tribute to the organisers and to the tremendous community support they received.

Pictured below are more scenes from the spectacular evening. Further excellent photos taken by Hamish Ta-me can be viewed on the website of Southern Highland News.




Above : Assoc. Prof. Stephen Della-Fiorentina, a member of the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee, was the guest speaker at the function.

Blood Cancer Support Group
I can report that this new support group will definitely be continuing in 2015. The group, which caters for Southern Highlands patients with various forms of leukaemia, commenced meetings late last year. Those who are interested in the group or would like more information are asked to telephone Emily Barry at the Leukaemia Foundation on 4222 0602.

Vision for Change, 2015

With the NSW state election coming up on March 28th this year, Cancer Council NSW has identified five opportunities for the next NSW Government to reduce the number of people who receive a cancer diagnosis and ensure that those with cancer get the care they need. The issues chosen to seek support from all political parties are :
More palliative care services – many people in NSW who need specialist palliative care don’t receive it, especially if they live in a regional or rural area
Reform of tobacco retailing – some regulation of the selling of tobacco will support people who are trying to quit and encourage young people to live smoke free
Co-ordinated cancer care – Local Health Districts can support cancer patients by providing assistance with co-ordinating appointments and managing the overall care program
Increased Aboriginal workforce in cancer services – making sure that when Aboriginal people go to a cancer service they are cared for by an Aboriginal person
No chemotherapy co-payments – eliminating the discrepancy where some public hospital patients are charged a chemo co-payment while others are not.

World Cancer Day, February 4th
With a theme of 'Together it is possible’, this year's World Cancer Day is about everyone doing their bit to tackle cancer issues. The particular focus on the global goal of reducing premature deaths from non-communicable diseases by 25% by 2025 makes World Cancer Day a platform for supporting both prevention and treatment. We know that understanding and responding to the full impact of cancer on emotional, mental and physical wellbeing will maximise the quality of life for patients, their families and carers. As the tagline for this world event says, it is “not beyond us”.

Coming Events
• February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Hold an “afternoon teal” in February to support Ovarian Cancer Australia. Their website is : https://ovariancancer.net.au/
• Teal Ribbon Day, fundraising for ovarian cancer programs, is on Feb. 25th
• World Cancer Day will be on Wednesday, February 4th.
• Can Assist meeting, Thurs. Feb. 12th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• Hold an Iced Tea Party for lymphoedema research, Jan. 12 to March 20. All details on the website : http://www.icedteaparty.com.au/

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




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Cancer Connections - December 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fantastic support for Can Assist

What a wonderful night was had by all those who attended the spectacular “Venice Carnivale” event at Bendooley Estate in November. Full marks to our local Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist for taking on such a bold enterprise. All credit is due to the enormous efforts made by the organising team of Kit Bullivant, Desmond Freeman, Cathy Quain and Ed Fisher for developing and carrying through on such an exciting concept. Over 100 people responded to the call and enjoyed the special masked carnival atmosphere. 


Pictured are a few scenes from the spectacular evening. Further excellent photos taken by Hamish Ta-me can be viewed on the website of Southern Highland News. 




The Secretary of the local branch, Terry Hughes (pictured third from the left in the photo below) has this week announced a final result for the event. The organisers and all participants can feel proud that, together, they have raised the sum of $10,077 which will be used to benefit those members of our community who are living with cancer.



Cancer Services Directory 2015
The Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee is currently planning next year’s issue of the Directory. This time we are putting the focus on cancer within families. If you provide a service for cancer patients or carers and you would like to be given a free listing for the very first time, or if you wish to make an alteration to your current listing, please get in touch with me. Contact details are below.

Success for Men’s Health Forums
Congratulations to Tom Carroll and Wingecarribee Health Association for Men (WHAM) for putting together the series of men’s health forums held at the Moss Vale Golf Club throughout November. With a total attendance of men and women approaching 400 across the four sessions, this strong response has made it clear that there is a great demand for information evenings of this kind. Calls have been made for a similar event to be held in 2015.



Pictured at the Men's Health Forum held on November 13th : (L to R) Dr Bill Quinn, Lucy Forbes, Dr Geoff Sparkes.
 
Patient Opinion is important

Have you heard of the new website by Consumers Health Forum of Australia ? It’s an independent site for you to register your experiences of Australian health services, good or bad. Their website says : “Tell us what was good and what could be improved, say thanks or call for change - we'll pass your stories to the people in the health services who can make a difference.” What a good initiative. You can find them at www.patientopinion.org.au


Season’s greetings
Christmas and the holiday season are fast approaching. Time to recognise all the good efforts of so many folk in our district who help others. Time to pause and reflect on the many achievements recorded during the last twelve months and then to look forward to what more can be done by our combined efforts in 2015. Season’s greetings to all our volunteers and supporters throughout the district who do so much to benefit those with cancer.

Coming Events
• Please note : Can Assist does not meet in January.
Next meeting will be on February 12th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital.

• February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Hold an afternoon tea in February to support Ovarian Cancer Australia. Their website is : https://ovariancancer.net.au/

• World Cancer Day will be on Wednesday, February 4th.

• Hold an Iced Tea Party for lymphoedema research, Jan. 12 to March 20. All details on the website : www.icedteaparty.com.au


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


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Cancer Connections - November 2014

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cancer Centre wins award

The Southern Highlands Cancer Centre has been recognised for its outstanding work in caring for cancer patients. At “A Night with the Stars” on October 31st, held at Mittagong RSL to present the Southern Highlands Business Awards for Excellence, the Centre, which is a part of the Private Hospital, took out the award in the category “Excellence in a Health Facility”. When the award was presented to Dr Stephen Della-Fiorentina, the oncologist at the Centre, he made particular mention of the achievements of the team as a whole and went on to pay tribute especially to the leadership of Jo Pearson, its Nursing Unit Manager. By way of demonstrating their strong teamwork, all of the Centre staff who were at the awards dinner went up on stage for the presentation.


Pictured above : The team from the Cancer Centre, with Dr Stephen Della-Fiorentina and Jo Pearson (centre) holding the award trophy.

Tobacco is readily available

It’s easier to buy tobacco than to obtain medications. Odd, isn’t it ? When you remember that medications are meant to aid our health but tobacco ends up killing one out of every two of its users. Tobacco outlets seem to be everywhere : supermarkets, newsagencies, petrol stations, convenience stores, you name it. Almost 10,000 of them in NSW; four times as many as there are pharmacies. The sale of medicines is tightly regulated; not so for cigarettes. There are no legal limits on where tobacco can be sold, who can sell it and when (aside from a ban on mobile sellers and market stalls). No licence is required and there’s no cap on the total number of outlets.

Cancer Council NSW has a vision for change by asking the State government to address the sale of tobacco, thereby supporting people who are trying to quit and encouraging young people to live smoke free. Perhaps a positive licensing scheme might be one way to improve the situation.

Men’s Health Month in November

The free information sessions on men’s health, presented by local medical specialists, continue for the rest of November. These events are being held at the Moss Vale Golf Club, from 6.00 sharp to 7.30pm on Thursday evenings. The speakers for the concluding sessions are : Dr Leicester (orthopaedic surgeon) Nov 20th; and Dr Wikramanyaka (bowel specialist) Nov 27th. All men and women are welcome. For further information, telephone the organiser, Tom Carroll, on 0419482208 or email carroll.tom@gmail.com

Community Service Award

I should also record here that I was one of the people nominated for an award in the category “Excellence in Community Service”. I saw that as really a recognition of what has been achieved by the whole of the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee. While I was not successful, my nomination itself is a most welcome recognition of the work we do as a volunteer body. The award, however, went, most deservedly, to the Clown Doctors for their work as part of the Humour Foundation. The choice of winners was fitting indeed in view of the death this year, from cancer, of Dr Peter Spitzer (aka Dr Fruit-Loop). Peter achieved so much for children, and for us all, by spreading his message that “Laughter is the best medicine”.

Coming Events

• Movember is to raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, with a specific focus on prostate cancer and depression in men.
• November is also Lung Health Awareness Month. How are your lungs ?
• International Volunteer Day is Dec. 5th. Think of how volunteers help us all.
• “Venice Carnivale” for Can Assist, Thurs. Nov. 20th at Bendooley Estate
• Men’s Health events each Thursday in November. Please see details above.
• Can Assist meeting, Thurs. Dec. 11th, 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 - October 2014

Thursday, October 16, 2014

October is Pink Month

Breast cancer is the most common cancer for women in Australia, with a new case diagnosed every hour. Wear a Pink Ribbon in October and help increase awareness about breast cancer or get the girls together for a ‘Girls Night In’. You can also help raise funds for breast cancer research by registering to volunteer time at one of the local sites on merchandise day, which is Friday 24th October. (The official National Pink Ribbon Day will be on Monday 27th.) For further information please visit www.pinkribbon.com.au Local sites will be at Springetts Arcade and Mittagong Marketplace.





Men’s Health Month

November in the Southern Highlands will see a series of free information sessions on men’s health featuring speakers who are all from our local medical community. These events will be held at the Moss Vale Golf Club, starting at 6.00pm (sharp) through to 7.30pm on each Thursday evening. 


The speakers will be : Dr Lalak (urologist) and Dr Barnett (GP) Nov 6th; Dr Quinn (cardiologist), Dr Sparkes (GP) and Lucy Forbes (Physiotherapist)  Nov 13th; Dr Leicester (orthopaedic surgeon), Dr Roche (GP) and Rachel van der Meer (Exercise Physiologist)  Nov 20th; and Dr Wikramanyaka (bowel specialist), Dr Lewis (GP) and Rachel van der Meer (speaking as a Dietician) Nov 27th. All men and women are welcome. For further information, telephone the organiser, Tom Carroll, on 0419482208 or email carroll.tom@gmail.com


Can Assist’s "Venice Carnivale"

Bendooley Estate, Berrima is the setting for a special dinner and auction on Thursday, 20th November. The evening has an Italian theme and guests are to be dressed “glamorous and masked”. The theme derives from an original framed picture of the San Marco Piazza generously donated by its artist, Prof. Desmond Freeman, a strong supporter of Can Assist. This beautiful painting and many other unusual and valuable items will be available in the “Amazing Mystique Auction”. 


The spectacular event is a major fundraiser for the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist which is currently helping 60 patients with pharmacy bills, transport costs, accommodation at treatment centres, oxygen, palliative care, and respite night nursing. Full details are shown in the “News and Events” item on this website. For inquiries, telephone 0475 522 159 or email cavcarnival@gmail.com Tickets are $185 each and are available at  www.trybooking.com/94578


Volunteers helping others

Can you volunteer to help cancer patients in our GAPS program ? The General and Practical Support service is available in the Wingecarribee to people undergoing cancer treatment. Training for volunteers is provided by Cancer Council NSW. You can assist preparing light snacks; shopping; respite for a carer; and transport to medical appointments or to connect with the Patient Transport Service. Whether you are helping a patient or their carer, your assistance will be greatly appreciated by people who are facing a most serious challenge to their health. If you would like to take part, phone Tina Hunt at Cancer Council on 4223 0200.

Rare Cancers Australia

A reminder of two events : The inaugural “Sick or Treat” Halloween Ball on Friday 31st October at The Intercontinental Hotel in Sydney and the 3rd Annual Rare Cancers Cricket Challenge at Bradman Oval on Sunday 2nd November. Proceeds go to help Australians in need of cancer medication not funded by government. For more information on both these events, visit the website www.rarecancers.org.au or phone 02 4862 2768.


Coming Events

• October is Pink Month : ‘Girls Night In’ and Pink Ribbon events are on
• Pink Ribbon Day, Fri. Oct. 24th. Tables at Springetts & Mittagong Marketplace
• National Bandanna Day is on October 31st
• Men’s Health Month events in November. Please see details above.
• Can Assist meeting, Thurs. Nov. 13th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• “Venice Carnivale” for Can Assist, Thurs. Nov. 20th at Bendooley Estate

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


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Cancer Connections - September 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Can Assist’s "Venice Carnivale"

Berkelouw’s Bendooley Estate, Berrima, will be the venue for this Dinner and Auction on Thursday, 20th November. The evening has an Italian theme and guests are to be dressed “glamorous and masked”. The theme has been inspired by an original framed picture of the San Marco Piazza generously donated by its artist, Prof. Desmond Freeman. This beautiful painting and many other unusual and valuable items will be available in the “Amazing Mystique Auction”. The spectacular event is a major fundraiser for the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist which is currently helping 60 patients with pharmacy bills, transport costs, accommodation at treatment centres, oxygen, palliative care, and respite night nursing. Full details are shown in the “News and Events” item on this website. For inquiries, telephone 0475 522 159 or email

 cavcarnival@gmail.com Tickets are $185 each and are available right now at www.trybooking.com/94578

Pictured below : The magnificent Venice panorama - by Desmond Freeman.



Volunteers helping others
Can you volunteer to help cancer patients in our GAPS program ? The General and Practical Support service is available in the Wingecarribee to people undergoing cancer treatment. Training for volunteers is provided by Cancer Council NSW. You can assist preparing light snacks; shopping; respite for a carer; and transport to medical appointments or to connect with the Patient Transport Service. Whether you are helping a patient or their carer, your assistance will be greatly appreciated by people who are facing a most serious challenge to their health. If you would like to take part, phone Tina Hunt at Cancer Council on 4223 0200.

YWCA Encore program returns
This is a free gentle exercise program for women who have experienced mastectomy, lumpectomy or breast reconstruction surgery. The 8-week program – sessions of 2 hours/week – is based on gentle floor and hydrotherapy exercises specifically designed to improve movement, flexibility and strength after surgery. The sessions also provide time and space for relaxation, information sharing and discussion with women who have had a similar experience. More information is online at www.ywcaencore.org.au. To book for the program beginning at Henley Brae on 15th October, phone Mandy Lawson on 4868 3246 or 0438 68 3246.

Rare Cancers Australia events

Two dates for fundraising events : Rare Cancers Australia is staging its first ever “Sick or Treat” Halloween Ball on 31st October 2014 at The Intercontinental Hotel in Sydney. Hosted by the ABC’s Tony Jones, this night of fine food and wine also features a performance by Abby Dobson. Proceeds go to help Australians in need of cancer medicines that are not funded by government. After that, 2nd November will see the 3rd Annual Rare Cancers Cricket Challenge at Bradman Oval. Join a team or just come down to the ground and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. For more information on both these events, visit the website www.rarecancers.org.au or phone 02 4862 2768.


New Blood Cancer Support Group
The latest information received is that this new support group will definitely be functioning in the Southern Highlands. Those who are interested in enquiring about the group are asked to telephone Emily Barry at the Leukaemia Foundation on 4222 0602.

Does your cancer service help families?
If you provide a service to assist the family of a cancer patient, we can list it in the 2015 issue of the Southern Highlands Cancer Services Directory. Our committee is currently planning next year’s issue which will focus on support for local families. So, to obtain a free listing, or if you are interested in advertising in the booklet and you haven’t done so before, please get in touch with me. Or if you just need to amend a current entry, give me a call.

Coming Events
• “Bounce Forward” program at SH Private Hospital, Sept. 20-21
• October is Pink Month : “Girls Night In” & Pink Ribbon events are on.
• Can Assist meeting, Thurs. Oct. 9th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• Haemophilia Awareness Week occurs October 12th -18th
• YWCA Encore program commences at Henley Brae, Wed. Oct. 15
• “Sick or Treat” Halloween Ball for Rare Cancers Aust., Oct. 31
• Annual Rare Cancers Cricket Challenge at Bradman Oval, Nov. 2
Advance Notice : Can Assist’s “Venice Carnivale”, Nov. 20th

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


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