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 - November 2016

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Advances in Palliative Care
Last month our committee was most fortunate to have a meeting with Janeane Harlum, the Area Palliative Care Manager for South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD) of which the Wingecarribee is a part. Janeane gave us an informative talk about the PEACH program. This stands for Palliative Extended Aged Care in the Home and the PEACH packages are designed to provide clinical care and support for people who wish to die at home or remain at home for as long as possible. To qualify, the patient needs to be assessed as eligible and to have a carer living with them.

The program is available for the last seven days of life and is delivered by the Silver Chain Nursing Service. Their nurses specialising in end-of-life-care make visits to the home to provide valuable help for the patient and carer through clinical, personal and psychosocial support. Janeane informed us that 83% of the packages were provided to patients with a cancer diagnosis. 70% of these patients die in their own home. So far, in the Wingecarribee 58 packages of care have been provided for 29 patients and 3 of these have been for children or young adults.

The Tackling Tobacco program
“Tackling Tobacco” is a step-by-step program that aims to reduce smoking-related harm amongst the most socio-economically disadvantaged groups in NSW. Through this new program, Cancer Council NSW works with community service organisations to address smoking problems and to give their clients the support they need to quit. The program is made up of six core elements that form an organisation-wide approach to addressing smoking. This approach promotes a shared responsibility of care and a positive culture, ensuring that smoking care becomes part of the usual care provided by the service. Cancer Council NSW have partnered with Highlands Community Centres Stafford Cottage and the program is already underway.

Peter Coupland Trust Fund
Readers of this column may remember that, in May last year, I reported on the sad and unexpected death of Peter Coupland. Peter was a Social Worker at the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre and a most valued member of our Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee. His sudden passing was a great loss and it brought home to all who worked with him what a special and inspiring person he was. Staff colleagues at the Southern Highlands Private Hospital have taken the initiative to organise an event in Peter’s memory. It will take the form of a viewing of two gardens along with a Devonshire tea at ‘Greyleaves’ Burradoo on December 3rd, 2-5pm. All proceeds are going to the Peter Coupland Fund. Organiser Naomi Bermingham tells me details are on a Facebook page ‘Peter Coupland Memorial Fund’.

Can Assist film success

There was another sell-out attendance for the Can Assist film evening at which supporters had the chance to see the new movie “The Light between Oceans”. Successful fundraisers like this are only possible through the work of Can Assist’s tireless volunteers and the generosity of those who make donations and those who attend – all are helping local cancer patients. And the result ? Can Assist's Secretary, Terry Hughes, reports a net result of $5,420 from the evening -- a credit to everyone involved.

Coming Events
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group meet at SH Private Hospital, 10.30am, Nov. 22. RSVP Jo or Katie on 4862 9470
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Nov. 23.

• Men’s Health Month forum, St Jude’s Auditorium, Nov. 24 at 6pm sharp. Full details can be found in our 'News and Events' section of this website.

• Look Good Feel Better program at SH Private Hospital, Nov. 29. For details and to register, visit their website at or telephone 1800 650 960.

• ‘Greyleaves’ Garden Devonshire tea in aid of Peter Coupland Memorial Fund, Dec. 3, 2-5pm (see above)
• Can Assist meeting, Thursday, Dec. 8th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital.

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)
0407 234 780 or


Cancer Connections - May-June 2015

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Vale Peter Coupland

It is with great sadness that I report to you on the death of our Committee colleague and friend, Peter Coupland, who held the position of Social Worker at the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre and also counselled in a private capacity. He will be remembered with a tender fondness by all who knew him, or worked with him, or were treated by him. Peter had a tremendous sensitivity and compassion, to an extraordinary degree, matched also by a quick intelligence and a great sense of humour. At the May meeting of our committee members spoke of our admiration for Peter and his work in helping cancer patients and their families. We ended the expression of condolence to Peter’s family with a one-minute silence in his memory.

Donations to cancer charities

Readers will know that the Cancer Leadership Committee supports the fund-raising work of Cancer Council NSW through such efforts as the Biggest Morning Tea (see below) and Relay For Life. As well as that, I am often asked : “How do I donate to support cancer patients here in the Southern Highlands ?” I always offer two alternatives : to donate to the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre Trust Fund, whose account is managed by the Southern Highlands Foundation, or to donate to the local branch of Can Assist. Space in this column does not permit me to provide all the necessary details here. Folk who wish to support local patients will find all the information they need on this website. Just click on the "Local Services" tab above and choose Can Assist or the Trust Fund from the pull-down menu. (Donations over $2 to either are tax-deductible.)

Committee changes
In recent months our membership has also altered with the resignations of Tina Hunt (Cancer Council), Kit Bullivant (Can Assist), and Steve Burton (Ambulance Service). All have been members for a number of years and we thank them most sincerely for the continued support they have given to the Committee’s projects. As a result, we have welcomed as new members Aurelia Grigore-Reid from Can Assist, and Sally Hudson from Cancer Council. We look forward to working with both and I know they will be great additions to our team.

Smoke-free outdoor dining
The NSW Government has now announced that their policy to create smoke-free environments in dining areas across the state will commence on July 6th this year. This will apply to outdoor dining areas of hotels, cafes, clubs and restaurants. During 2013 the Government gave notice that they would proceed to implement this step in 2015 in their bid to reduce the effects of tobacco and to increase the emphasis on a healthy lifestyle. Expect to see further details as the policy is rolled out. NSW Health reports that smoking causes around 5,200 deaths and 44,000 hospitalisations in this State alone each year.


There is an innovative program now available online to assist cancer survivors in regaining a sexual relationship. Called Rekindle, this is a private, personalised online resource that addresses sexual concerns for all adults affected by cancer. Supported by the University of Sydney and Cancer Council NSW, the free service can be accessed simply by visiting the website

Coming Events
• National Families Week, May 14-20
• National Palliative Care Week, May 24-30
• Biggest Morning Tea at SH Cancer Centre, Mon. May 25
• May 30 is always World No Tobacco Day
• June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month
• Bowel Cancer Dial-in Day, June 5 : Dial 1800 555 494, 10am-4pm
• Can Assist meeting June 11, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• Red Apple Day raising awareness of bowel cancer, June 17
• S. H. Community Hospice Gala Dinner, Centennial Vineyards, June 20.

For details, visit the Community Hospice website at

  • Can Assist meeting July  9, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)
0407 234 780 or


Cancer Connections - February 2014

Friday, February 21, 2014

Cancer Services Directory out on February 26th
The theme for this year’s edition (our 6th) will be : “Support Groups and Services” – those which assist Southern Highlands cancer patients and their families. In addition to articles about the major groups and services, there will be a comprehensive listing of all who provide local treatment, information or assistance. We heartedly thank every sponsor of the booklet which will be available in each copy of the Southern Highland News issued on Wednesday, February 26th. Make sure you get your copy.

Help for the bereaved is at hand
We have received this extremely valuable advice from the Southern Highlands Bereavement Care Service :

When a diagnosis of cancer is made something profound happens. It happens to us and it happens to our loved ones. We are immediately shocked, we become numb. Unanswered questions sit uncomfortably in our bodies and in our minds. Suddenly our life becomes fragile and we embark on a new journey into spheres we had not previously given thought to.

As time progresses part of the journey is about experiencing and embracing grief. It involves facing the myriad of feelings and thoughts that are impossible to ignore. It involves dealing with fear - of the unknown, of the physical burdens, of the effects on loved ones and their relationship to us and to living with cancer. It involves our thoughts, our feelings and our bodies. Our grief can range in intensity from just a little worry to feelings of devastation. It follows no time line or rule. A hospital visit may appear a small concern to one person, yet may be devastating to another.

Whatever your thoughts, feelings and physical reactions may be, it is important that they are honoured through expression. You may be happy to do this in private or you may prefer a support group or a particular friend to speak with. It is natural to be overwhelmed with grief on occasions although, if you find these feelings continue or you are particularly fearful over time, then speaking with a professional can be helpful. For assistance please call the Southern Highlands Bereavement Care Service on 48621701 or visit their website

Relay For Life 2014

Relay for Life returns to the Southern Highlands on Saturday 3rd May at Eridge Park Oval and runs through to Sunday morning. Keep that weekend free and let’s work for an even bigger event than in 2012. The themes for Relay are “Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back !” An information evening will be held at the Henrietta Rose Room, Bowral Library, Bendooley Street, Bowral, at 6pm on Tuesday, February 25th. 

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

Who will you relay for ?

Coming Events
• February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
  Relay For Life Info evening, Henrietta Rose Room, 6pm Tues. Feb. 25.
• Cancer Services Directory 2014 is in SH News on Wednesday, Feb. 26.
• Teal Ribbon Day for ovarian cancer awareness, Feb. 26.
• Highlands Sinfonia Concert, St Jude’s 10.30am Fri. March 7 to aid Can Assist
• Can Assist meeting, Thurs., March 13, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital. 
  Tenpin Bowling Night, Mittagong, for WHAM, March 21st. Telephone 0419482208
• Brigadoon at Bundanoon, Sat. April 5. Volunteers’ efforts can benefit the Cancer Centre Trust Fund.

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)
0407 234 780 or


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