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 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 - December 2016

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Cancer Council & IPTAAS accommodation help

In the October column, I mentioned the IPTAAS funding which some Southern Highlands cancer patients may be eligible for if they are required to travel out of the area for treatment. This Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme is a little complicated but a full two-page explanation of eligibility and how it works can be found on this website in the "News & Events" section.


This month I have room to say something about a related service now provided by Cancer Council NSW on the accommodation side of the equation. Cancer patients who qualify for travel assistance while they receive treatment may also be able to access IPTAAS accommodation support as well. Various subsidies are available, depending on whether the patient and carer are staying in private accommodation, a not-for-profit or a for-profit facility. To supplement this subsidy, Cancer Council NSW have forged a special arrangement with the ACCOR hotel group to provide a reduced tariff while patients are away from home. Since the ACCOR Group operates numerous hotels at different price points, there should be something to suit most people’s pocket. With the IPTAAS subsidy along with the reduced-rate tariff, this is a substantial help in defraying the costs of treatment away from home. To access these supports, patients should ring the Cancer Council NSW Information & Support line on 13 11 20 and also visit the Enable website at www.enable.health.nsw.gov.au/home/iptaas

Reporting on the Trust Fund event
Readers who saw in this column last month a notice of the Garden event for the Peter Coupland Trust Fund, or who attended on the day itself, will be pleased to learn just how successful it was.



Wonderfully sunny weather was the first sure omen for an enjoyable day. That was confirmed by the strong attendance of Peter's colleagues and friends, and their friends too, who responded to the opportunity to do something in his memory. All was further heightened by the wonderful teamwork which went into the organisation for the event. And that was finally capped off when we found what a lovely setting had been made available to us. The wonderful gardens at Greyleaves, where the fundraiser was held, were opened up to all by our generous hosts, Belinda and Paul Shanahan. Spread out across the shaded grounds, guests were treated to a range of delightful refreshments – in my opinion much more grand than the advertised "Devonshire tea". And towards the end of the day, we also had the privilege of viewing an adjoining garden, courtesy of Robyn Coupland, Peter's mother. Lead organiser, Naomi Bermingham, has told me that the event raised more than $3,000 which will all go to the Trust Fund established in Peter's memory.



Pictured above : the organisers of the event (L to R) Naomi, Michelle, Belinda and Jo preparing the special afternoon tea.

Season’s Greetings
To readers of this column we send our sincere best wishes for this holiday season. For those of you on your own cancer journey, we wish that you can maintain the quality of hope. For your family, carers and friends, we wish that you sustain your continuing level of support. For those who regularly step up to the plate with help and donations to cancer charities, we thank you on behalf of all those who benefit from your generosity. For those who simply like to keep up to date on cancer matters and learn of local cancer-related events, please keep reading in 2017.

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 - November 2015

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Community Cancer Fund now launched

On Thursday, November 12th, along with five other members of our committee, I was fortunate to be present at the Milk Factory Gallery for an important event. On that evening the Southern Highlands Community Cancer Fund was launched by Dr Brendan Nelson, a past President of the AMA, before a large audience of well-wishers. This new fund is being established by Bowral residents, Richard and Kate Vines, who have already achieved so much in the field of cancer support and information through their creation of Rare Cancers Australia (RCA). You can find out more about how this new initiative will assist cancer patients - and how Richard and Kate’s work has already helped people with rare and less common cancers - by visiting their website at  www.rarecancers.org.au or by calling in at the RCA office in Springetts Arcade.


Paws Pet Therapy in action
Did you know that there are currently 30 volunteers supported by Paws Pet Therapy to provide a professional pet assisted therapy service to facilities in the Southern Highlands and several other regions ? In our own district, Paws teams make weekly visits to aged care services and disability groups, and provide daily visits to the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre. 

Clad in purple, the Paws Pet Therapy teams provide comfort to people undergoing chemotherapy and also to their families and hard-working Cancer Centre staff. They can also decrease blood pressure and alleviate anxiety in patients. Feedback from the Cancer Centre staff, patients and families has been extremely positive, and all look forward to a doggie smile and a friendly wag of the tail every day.

The founder of Paws Pet Therapy, Sharon Stewart, is pictured here with Rocky.

If you would like to find out more about the benefits of pet therapy, or would like to book a visit, please check out their website at www.pawspettherapy.com , contact  sharon.paws@hotmail.com  or telephone 4681 0499. Or you could call to have a chat about volunteering or sponsorship opportunities.


Accor Hotels accommodation support
A new partnership has been announced by Cancer Council NSW and AccorHotels which will bring help to some local cancer patients. The new scheme will provide Southern Highlands cancer patients with reduced rate accommodation options when they are required to travel to Sydney for their cancer treatment. This partnership will complement the current NSW Government’s Isolated Patients Transport and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS). The service will be available across 62 AccorHotels properties close to treatment facilities in greater Sydney and other locations across NSW. The overall financial burden of cancer will be reduced for these patients when they claim the commercial IPTAAS rate on these rooms. More details about this scheme can be obtained from Sally Hudson, Community Programs Co-ordinator at Cancer Council NSW, by telephoning 4223 0205.

Relay For Life 2016

Advance notice is out that next year’s Southern Highlands Relay For Life will be held at the Moss Vale Showground instead of Eridge Park Oval. The organising committee is already at work to have everything ready for Saturday, April 2. Relay is only held every second year and after the great success in 2014, in which our Southern Highlands community contributed so generously for Cancer Council NSW, people are looking forward to another excellent event. This time Relay will run from 12pm Saturday until 12pm Sunday - which should be a timing to suit most people. It’s now possible to form a team or to join an existing team. Just go to the website  www.relayforlife.org.au and choose the Southern Highlands page. If you won’t be in the district on that date, the page also has a facility for you to donate. Relay is also on Facebook.


Coming Events

• Men’s Health Month continues, 6pm Mondays at St Judes : Nov. 23 & 30. Full details can be found in our 'News and Events' section of this website.

• “Bounce Forward” program will be on Nov. 28-29. All the details can be found in our 'News and Events' section of this website.

• Dec. 5 is International Volunteer Day celebrating the fantastic work by so many
• Can Assist meeting Dec. 10, 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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