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 - 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 - 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 Tickets are $185 each and are available right now at

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 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 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


Cancer Connections - July 2013

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Mayor meets with Cancer Leadership Committee
The July meeting of the Cancer Leadership Committee was given over to a most useful conversation with the Mayor of Wingecarribee Shire, Councillor Juliet Arkwright. The Mayor’s readiness to attend an evening meeting of our volunteer committee provided us with an opportunity to highlight the range of support programs and services with which we are involved. Members made special mention of their endorsement of Council’s policies on smoke-free outdoor areas. During the evening Councillor Arkwright not only expressed her full support for our work but also made the kind offer to serve as our Patron. The Committee was very pleased to accept this gesture and can now look forward to even closer co-operation with Council in the future.

Pictured above : At front on left : Therese Harris, then behind her (L to R) : Kate Partington, Steve Burton, Juliet Arkwright, Jo Pearson, Grahame Hackett, Terry Hughes, Tina Hunt, Kit Bullivant and Margaret Mogg.

Do we know of your cancer service ?
If you provide a service for cancer patients and carers, or you host a cancer support group, and we don’t know about it, then it probably won’t appear in the 2014 issue of the Southern Highlands Cancer Services Directory. Our committee is currently planning next year’s issue which will focus on local cancer support groups and service providers. So, if you would like to be given a free listing for the very first time, or you are interested in advertising in the booklet and you haven’t done so before, please get in touch with me. Contact details are below.

Lions Club of Bowral makes $500 donation
At the start of this month, Lions Club President, Tom Dolan, informed me of a generous donation they were making. From funds raised by members, the Lions Club of Bowral has provided a cheque for $500 to the local branch of Can Assist whose sole object is to help cancer patients. 

Support like this, coming from social, sporting and service clubs in the district, together with the continuing backing of local businesses, have helped sustain the valuable work of Can Assist. You may remember that the Can Assist organisation as a whole received the NSW Premier’s award in 2012 for “Excellence in Public Service Delivery”.

Can Assist needs more members 
While on this topic, it must be said that the wonderful achievements of the local branch are made possible by quite a small band of volunteer supporters. They need more members. Can you volunteer some time to help out ? The contribution of your own time, no matter how small, is the most productive way you can do your bit to show people they are not alone on their cancer journey. 

The Secretary, Terry Hughes, can be contacted on 48723059, or by email at or why not go along to one of their meetings, always held at 10am on the second Thursday of each month in the conference room of the old Bowral hospital, Ascot Street, Bowral.

Coming Events
• July is Dry July – helping adults living with cancer
• “Call to Arms” at AFL games during July – Clash for Cancer
• Breast Cancer Support Group luncheon, August 7th. See the website
• Can Assist meeting, Thursday, August 8th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• Daffodil Day raises funds for Cancer Council programs, Friday, August 23rd
• Daffodil Day events at the SH Cancer Centre will be held August 21st-22nd

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)
0407 234 780 or


Cancer Connections - March 2013

Friday, March 29, 2013

BowelCare program

One method to have a regular screening to detect the possibility of bowel cancer has been the BowelCare program. This involves a simple process which can be done at home to carry out a faecal occult blood test (FOBT). In Australia about 4,400 people die from bowel cancer each year, yet, if detected early, this is one cancer which is curable in so many cases. So, "Get checked !"

Rotary Club of East Gosford which organises the distribution of BowelCare test kits has informed us that they are now resuming their program for 2013 with the same testing kit they have employed in the past. 

Latest information :
Southern Highlands pharmacies will have the kits available from May 4th (if not earlier) to June 1st and should be receiving their supplies in late April. The last day for returning the kit for pathology testing is June 15th.

Council makes outdoor dining areas smoke-free
After community consultation Wingecarribee Shire Council voted in February to extend its Smoke Free Outdoor Areas Policy. This change ensures that outdoor dining areas on Council-managed lands (for example footpaths, plazas) will become smoke-free later this year. Council adopted the proposal as recommended in the Council officers’ report and in the knowledge that NSW legislation will bring in a statewide ban on smoking in such dining areas from July 2015.

Outdoor dining areas will become smoke-free in Wingecarribee in two stages : From July 1, 2013, the policy will apply to all Council-managed businesses throughout the shire, excluding those in Corbett Plaza. From November 8, 2013, the policy will apply to all Council-managed businesses in Corbett Plaza so that uniform licence conditions can apply there at the same time. (For further background on this issue, click on the QuickLink for “Smoke-free Outdoor Areas Policy” on the LHS of screen.)

These measures will have the positive effect of reducing the amount of secondhand smoke inhaled by non-smokers. While no-one will be prevented from smoking tobacco, it means they cannot do so in outdoor situations where they could adversely affect the health of others. NSW Health reports that smoking causes around 5,200 deaths and 44,000 hospitalisations in this State alone each year.

Cancer Services Directory 2013
This year’s edition of our Cancer Services Directory for the Southern Highlands was published last month in this newspaper. The feedback received for this issue containing numerous articles on men’s health has been most favourable. From several quarters we have had the question : “Can I still get hold of a copy ?” Newspaper staff report that surplus copies are very limited indeed. So if you did not pick up a copy on the day of issue, you may have to try your luck at the Southern Highland News office, the Cancer Centre within the Private Hospital or the Highlands Community Centre at Stafford Cottage, Bendooley Street, Bowral. Naturally, we ask those people who do have the booklet to support those firms who supported the project by taking out advertising space.

Coming Events
• World Health Day, April 7th 2013 Focus : “High blood pressure”
• Can Assist meeting, 10am Thurs, April 11th at the old Bowral Hospital

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)
0407 234 780 or


Cancer Connections - March 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012

New Oncology Unit

There has been a delay to the moving of the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre from its current premises in Holmhale Street to the new oncology unit at Southern Highlands Private Hospital. Recent wet weather has put back some of the building work at the hospital and the move will now take place on Tuesday, April 10th.

Cancer Services Directory 2012
The last week of February saw the publication of the 4th edition of our directory which lists the services available locally to assist cancer patients and their families. It also carries a number of articles about cancer and health-related matters along with advertisements from many local firms and organisations. The feedback we have had shows that it has been very well-received. Thanks are due to Southern Highland News and all the Directory’s sponsors who make this publication possible. If you missed out, a copy can be obtained at the Cancer Centre or you can now download it as a pdf file from the Directory tab on this website.

Register for Relay For Life

This major fund-raiser for Cancer Council NSW will be held at Eridge Park Oval on April 28th – 29th. It will commence at 9.30am on the Saturday and the Survivors & Carers Walk takes place at 10am. The event finishes at 10am on Sunday. For more details, see our additional item under the “News and Events” tab. 

You can register online by clicking here Relay for Life to join a team or, better still, form your own team and make an entry. Early bird registration (before April 14) is $15 per person. Who will you relay for ? Those not able to take part are urged to make a donation to support the efforts of one of the teams and to purchase tickets in the Relay Raffle.

BowelCare test kits
As part of the bowel cancer awareness campaign the test kits from BowelCare Australia are now on sale at most pharmacies until March 31st. The $10 fee covers the kit, pathology and notification of results. Completed kits can be returned to participating pharmacies up to April 14th. Note that there are instructions about avoiding red meat and iron tablets, and restricting the intake of aspirin and vitamin C, for three days before and during the collection period. Full instructions are printed on the test kits.

Smoke-free Outdoor Areas Policy
This important policy was passed unanimously by Wingecarribee Shire Council at its meeting on February 22nd. Full detail will become available when Council posts this on its website, makes its media release and includes it in Community Notices. Signage will then be erected at relevant areas.

Cancer-related News
The Herald Sun reported that an Australian cancer drug designed to kill cancerous cells while leaving healthy ones intact has been tested on Australian patients. The drug was discovered, designed and tested in Australia. Assoc. Prof. Martin Lackmann, Monash University, said : “We believe this antibody has the potential to provide significant benefit to a range of patients with blood cancers or solid tumours, given its potential to attack different types of cancerous cells”.

Coming Events
• 1st April is National Smile Day – supporting the Clown Doctors
• Can Assist meeting, 10am Thursday, April 12th at the old Bowral Hospital
• Southern Highlands Relay for Life, April 28th -29th at Eridge Park Oval

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)


Cancer Connections - January 2012

Friday, January 27, 2012

Cancer Services Directory 2012
You will receive your copy of the Southern Highlands Cancer Services Directory for 2012 when you purchase the Southern Highland News on Wednesday, February 22nd. This will be the 4th edition of this useful publication which will list the services available locally to assist cancer patients and their families. The Directory is updated each year by the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee so that the information is as accurate as we can make it. Thanks are due to Southern Highland News and all the Directory’s sponsors who make the publication possible.

New Oncology Unit
The Southern Highlands Cancer Centre will be moving from their current premises in Holmhale Street in March when the new oncology unit opens at Southern Highlands Private Hospital. (The Cancer Centre provides cancer services to everyone in the Southern Highlands community either as privately insured patients, or uninsured (public) patients, through an agreement with the Sydney South West Area Health Service.) The new unit will provide improved and expanded facilities for treating cancer patients. The exact date for the move will be made available on this website when it becomes known.

Relay For Life
Every two years a Relay for Life event is held in our district and the next one is coming up on Sat.-Sun., April 28th-29th. Thi
s major fund-raiser for Cancer Council NSW will again be held at Eridge Park oval but, with a return to an autumn event, we are hoping for much kinder weather than we experienced back in 2010. 

Planning is already under way and full details of the launch on February 16th are now available - please see our 'News and Events' section and come along to the launch. The communities of the Wingecarribee have always responded magnificently to Relay for Life and their generous donations make an enormous contribution towards the funding of important cancer research.

The Look Good…Feel Better Program
is fully described on our website. The next program will be held at the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre at Bowral on March 20th. You need to register and this can be done by telephoning Jo Pearson on 4861 2177 or the facilitator Merrilyn Usher on 0412 756 139.

Encore Program
YWCA Encore is an 8 week program designed for women who have experienced breast cancer. The sessions of two hours per week provide gentle exercises, relaxation techniques and information. These are aimed at restoring mobility, flexibility and confidence, regardless of how long ago the surgery or treatment occurred. The program is safe, fun and therapeutic - and it’s free. A course will commence locally at Henley Brae on February 8th. Register, or find more information, online at or telephone 1800 305 150.

Coming Events
• Encore program commences at Henley Brae, February 8th. Register as shown above
• Can Assist meeting, 10am Thursday, February 9th at the old Bowral Hospital
• LG…FB workshop at the Cancer Centre in Bowral, March 20th. Register as shown above
• Southern Highlands Relay for Life will be held on April 28th -29th at Eridge Park oval

• Launch of Relay for Life, February 16th – click on our "News and Events" tab for full details

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)


Cancer Connections - August 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

Council approves new oncology unit

At the meeting of Wingecarribee Shire Council, Wednesday August 10, Councillors unanimously gave their approval for the DA for the new Oncology Unit to be built at the Southern Highlands Private Hospital. I was able to see the plans for the extension and it is going to be a great facility to benefit patients.

Daffodil Day, Friday August 26
As foreshadowed last month, the annual Daffodil Day fundraiser approaches, with contributions going towards a range of necessary programs : research into the treatment, causes and prevention of cancer; plus patient support and information; cancer screening; and advocacy activities.

Supporters may already obtain items which are available at Coles, the Cancer Centre at Holmhale Street, and various local pharmacies. I am told that on Daffodil Day there will be collection sites set up at the following locations : Oxley Mall and Springetts Arcade in Bowral; Sally’s Corner; Bundanoon Village; and Highlands Marketplace in Mittagong.

Curves are having a Party - a Zumba Party
Enjoy the party and get into some Zumba fitness at the same time. Curves will be hosting the event at the Mittagong RSL, Sat. September 10, starting at 12 noon. Must pre-purchase your tickets !   $20 from Curves, the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre, or Mittagong RSL. All funds raised will go to the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre Trust Fund; proceeds from sale of Cancer Council items will go to Cancer Council NSW. Join the party !

Southern Region office of Cancer Council has moved
For people who wish to contact the Wollongong office of Cancer Council, I will mention that they have moved to a new address at the University of Wollongong :
Suite 7 Ground Floor, iC Enterprise 1, Innovation Campus, Squires Way, North Wollongong. The postal address is : PO Box 21, Fairy Meadow, NSW 2519. Their phone remains unchanged 02 4223 0200 but the new fax number is 02 4285 0268.

Coming Events
• Third Wednesday each month : Cancer Support Group. Henrietta Rose Room, Bowral, 7pm. Facilitator : Jann Wadsworth 48693830.
• Daffodil Day will be held on Friday August 26.
• ZUMBA Party, Mittagong RSL, Sat. September 10, starting at 12 noon.
• Community Services Expo, Thurs. Sept 15, at Moss Vale Services Club.
• Can Assist fundraiser will be “Balloons Can Assist” and is now planned for Nov. 13 at Bowral Pool – the first week the pool is open for the summer.

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)


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