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 2018

Wednesday, November 21, 2018




Relay For Life Southern Highlands
Relay 2018 proved to be a successful fundraising venture for Cancer Council’s multiple services in support of cancer patients. Despite unfavourable weather and the expectation of a lower attendance, the October event still drew 600 participants who carried on the strong tradition of our district’s backing for such activities. With charities right across the board facing reduced incomes in difficult economic times and cost-of-living pressures, it was heartening that $135,000 has already been achieved and further funds are still being received. The total was boosted by the generous donation on behalf of the Sharp family. Monies raised go to fund a number of local initiatives provided by Cancer Council along with their statewide research program on the causes and treatment of many different types of cancer.




Community Hospice
At last the Wingecarribee Shire Council has given approval to the DA submitted for the Community Hospice which is planned to be built at 104-106 Bowral Street, Bowral. A most significant milestone on the journey has now been passed. After such a fraught process in getting this proposal through Council, the Board of the Southern Highlands Community Hospice Ltd will now be able to proceed with their immense task of realising their dream. What was always envisaged was to create specialist palliative care facilities by operating a 10-bed inpatient purpose-built hospice for those who could no longer be cared for in their own home. What is planned will be a welcome addition to existing medical and nursing capabilities in the Wingecarribee. The AGM for members of Southern Highlands Community Hospice Ltd will be held, 6.00 for 6.30 pm, Thursday, November 22, at Annesley, Bowral.

Palliative Care Services
While recognising the importance of progress towards a Community Hospice, we should also acknowledge at the same time what wonderful palliative care services are presently available in the Southern Highlands. For patients with a terminal cancer diagnosis, and for others faced with equally severe medical conditions, the quality of end-of-life care being provided here is exceptional. Thanks to the outstanding work of Mira Glavan, Clinical Nurse Consultant in Palliative Care, nursing and volunteer services in our district continue to be provided at a high standard. Their work is supported by doctors who specialise in this field; the equipment needed to help maintain a person in their home is also organised. Doctors and nurses play a crucial role at this time in the critical issue of appropriate medication. However, when care becomes necessary on a 24/7 basis for a person living alone, staying at home is no longer an option. This is such a time when the bricks-and-mortar hospice is needed.

Coming Events
• Movember continues this month in aid of men’s health, particularly to deal with prostate cancer and depression
• SH Community Hospice AGM, 6.30pm, Thursday, Nov. 22 at Annesley
• Men’s Health forum concludes Monday, Nov. 26, 6pm at St Jude’s Auditorium, Bowral
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. Nov. 27, RSVP Katie
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Nov. 28

• December is Decembeard : raising awareness of bowel cancer. See the website www.decembeard.org.au/

• Please note : the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist will not be holding a meeting in December or January. The work of branch executive members will be carried on as usual. The next meeting will be on February 12th.

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 - December 2017

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Donation from Oxley College students
A substantial donation of around $800 has been made by students from Oxley College to the high-profile local charity Can Assist. The funds will go towards their special account “Can Assist Families” which is solely dedicated to channelling support to those families where a member - whether a parent or a child - is affected by cancer. Students and their parents contributed generously again this year as they did previously in 2016. Can Assist’s financial help for families has a particular focus where a parent is a cancer patient unable to work yet still supporting young children. So we can say “Well done” to all those involved at Oxley : students, parents and staff.

Prostate cancer research results
Researchers at Cancer Council NSW have shed light on factors that contribute to a risk of prostate cancer which is one of the most common cancers in Australian men. One in five males can develop the disease before the age of 85. The study carried out during 2016-17 identified those factors that appear to double the risk, such as : having a father with a history of prostate cancer; a previous diagnosis of prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland) or benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlargement of the prostate); and the number of sexual partners in a lifetime. Being overweight or obese was also associated with increased risk but to a lesser extent. No association was found between prostate cancer and certain suspected risk factors such as circumcision, vasectomy, vertex balding, erectile function, acne, asthma or diabetes.

Men’s Health month
Another successful round of four sessions was held throughout November with local medical practitioners giving up their time to inform us about their special fields. Put together again by Tom Carroll, Peter van Dort, and the team from WHAM, these evening forums have been very well presented and extremely educational for men and for women too. Many thanks to all concerned : presenters and organisers.

Cancer Services Directory 2018
Current indications are that next year’s issue of our annual Directory will be published a little later, probably in May.

Season’s wishes
At this time of the year, as we prepare to celebrate all our blessings with family and friends, it is well to remember that there are those in our community who are less favoured. Fortunately there are so many in the Southern Highlands district who continually help to earn our reputation for generosity to others, whether by giving financially or by making the time to volunteer. To all those of generous heart, our committee sends a genuine “Thank You” and sincere good wishes for the coming season.

Coming Events
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group will not meet in December or January.
• Can Assist will not meet in January.
• Can Assist fundraiser “Sunday @Centennial”, February 11th. See full details in the News & Events section of this website.
• Next Can Assist meeting will be at BDCU, Bowral, 10am February 13th.
• Next meeting of the Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. Feb. 27.

Grahame Hackett (Chair, Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee)
0407 234 780 or info@sh-cancerconnect.com.au


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Cancer Connections - November 2017

Saturday, November 18, 2017

“Murder can help patients”
A capacity audience at New Empire Cinemas on Nov. 9th watched the new movie version of "Murder on the Orient Express", directed by Kenneth Branagh. The event was a most successful fundraiser for the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist and all attending were treated to a quality adaptation of the familiar classic. This version was helped greatly by a fantastic cast of murderers. (Among so many fine performances, I was particularly impressed by Michelle Pfeiffer’s and would not be surprised if she gets an Academy nomination for best supporting actress). The venture received marvellous support from the Cinema’s owners, from Films in the Southern Highlands (FISH), along with the generous donors of prizes and of course all those folk who attended. Secretary Terry Hughes has announced that over $6,000 was raised on the night. WOW ! This great result would not have been possible without the smooth organisation by Aurelia Grigore-Reid and her army of volunteers from Can Assist who do so much for cancer patients in our district.


Portacatheter insertion issue

Readers of this column would know that our committee has been pushing for a local solution to the problem of public patients having to travel all the way to Concord Hospital for the insertion of a portacatheter. At the recent Annual Public Meeting of the South Western Sydney Local Health District, I took up the matter with the LHD Chief Executive, Amanda Larkin. After expressing her surprise and disappointment that cancer patients were having to make that out-of-area journey, the CE promptly undertook to further investigate this matter. The full facts have now been conveyed to Ms Larkin, along with the details on what progress we have currently made in pressing the issue.  

I shall report on whether an acceptable solution is arrived at.



Killing liver cancer cells
Cancer Council Research reports : Australia has witnessed a significant rise in liver cancer rates in recent years, and this trend is expected to continue over the next few decades. Sadly, the chance of a person with liver cancer surviving for 5 years or more is just 16%, and this is largely because the cancer is able to resist current therapies. Professor Christopher Liddle from the University of Sydney has found that there is a group of cells in liver tumours called cancer stem cells. These cells initiate cancer growth and contribute to the spread of the tumour. Current therapies are not able to target these cells, explaining why liver cancers are so unresponsive to treatment. Christopher and his team have developed two agents that can seek out and bind to the liver cancer stem cells and kill them. The researchers are now testing the effectiveness of these agents in the lab to see just how powerful their anti-cancer capability is. Once the team proves the agents are successful, this will lay the foundation for clinical trials.

Reminders of events :
• The series of Men’s Health seminars proceeds this November, organised by Tom Carroll and WHAM. These information sessions are held at 6pm sharp every Tuesday in St Jude’s Auditorium, Bowral. For the full program, visit the ‘News & Events’ section of this website or call Tom on 0419482208.
• Cancer Council continues its series of webinars. (These are online seminars which you can watch on your computer or mobile device on the night or later at your convenience.) The next topic is “Men’s Psycho-social needs : What support do men need after cancer ?” on Nov. 30. Visit the Cancer Council website www.cancercouncil.com.au for full details.

Coming Events
• Men’s Health Forum continues this November, every Tuesday; see item above.
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Nov 22.
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. Nov. 28 RSVP Katie
• Can Assist Meeting at BDCU, Bowral, 10am December 12

Grahame Hackett (Chair, Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee)
0407 234 780 or info@sh-cancerconnect.com.au



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Cancer Connections - October 2017

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Movie Night Mystery
"Murder on the Orient Express" has been remade as a movie in 2017. And what a fabulous cast this version has : Dench, Branagh, Cruz, Jacobi, Depp, Dafoe, Pfeiffer, and more. To cap off the star cast, Kenneth Branagh is the film's director as well. So it’s a must-see film in its own right and one to compare if you have seen earlier versions of this famous Agatha Christie mystery. The movie night will be another enjoyable fundraiser for the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist. The screening will be at the New Empire Cinemas, of course, who are great supporters of Can Assist. This special early release will be on Thursday, November 9th; arrive 6pm for 6.30. Tickets are $25 each, which also includes light refreshments, and they are available at the cinema or from Aurelia Grigore-Reid, who has organised the event. Can Assist are greatly helped by FISH (the Films in the Southern Highlands club) who have once again donated the entire cost of the distributor's fee.

Can Assist’s help to the community
The generous nature of Southern Highlands people has maintained the great work of Can Assist in supporting cancer patients in this community over the last 57 years. All donations to the volunteer organisation go to help with the costs of cancer treatment which can be a real burden for some families. Our local branch currently has 150 patients on their books, of whom upwards of 70 would require some help in any one month. Already in this financial year, the branch has spent $18,000 in patient support and that is for three months only. The biggest single item, of course, is the help given with pharmaceutical bills, but assistance is also available to Wingecarribee cancer patients for transport, accommodation and equipment costs where these are required.

More news :

• Tom Carroll and WHAM have put together another round of the successful Men’s Health Forum for this November. These information sessions will be held at 6pm sharp every Tuesday starting on Nov. 7th and will again be held in St Jude’s Auditorium. For the full program, visit the ‘News & Events’ section of this website or call Tom on 0419482208.

• With the NSW Government’s extra funding for palliative care now coming through, we have learned that a palliative care nurse has been appointed (full-time) to Bowral and District Hospital.
• The Fashion Parade held recently at Pepperfield raised $5,000 for the Cancer Centre Trust Fund.
• Cancer Council has planned a series of webinars. (These are online seminars which you can watch on your computer or mobile device on the night or later at your convenience.) The next two topics are “Breast Reconstruction : What are the pros and cons ?” Oct. 26; and “Men’s Psycho-social needs : What support do men need after cancer ?” Nov. 30. Visit the Cancer Council website for full details.

Coming Events
• October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
• Girls’ Night In for the month of Pink – check on local happenings
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. Oct. 24 RSVP Katie
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Oct. 25
• National Bandanna Day for CanTeen, Oct 27
• RCA function Sick or Treat Charity Ball, Sydney, Oct. 27.

• Men’s Health Forum returns this November, every Tuesday. See the item in our 'News & Events' section of this website..

• Movie Night fundraiser for Can Assist : “Murder on the Orient Express”, New Empire cinema, Nov. 9; see item above.
• Can Assist Meeting at BDCU, Bowral, 10am November 14

Grahame Hackett (Chair, Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee)
0407 234 780 or info@sh-cancerconnect.com.au



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Cancer Connections - August 2017

Thursday, August 17, 2017

“The Thing About Cancer”

A new series of podcasts has been launched by Cancer Council NSW and designed for people affected by cancer, including carers, families and friends of those living with cancer. Rather than explain about all the various kinds of cancer – which are already fully covered in their well-established “Understanding” series of booklets – the podcasts focus on 10 key areas for people affected by a cancer diagnosis. Topics include : How to help someone with cancer; Managing cancer fatigue; Appetite loss and nausea; and Explaining cancer to kids. Hosted by radio broadcaster and cancer survivor, Julie McCrossin, the ten informative podcasts can be heard online from the web at https://www.cancercouncil.com.au/podcasts/ or they can be downloaded from iTunes to your computer, tablet or smartphone and listened to at anytime.


Daffodil Day is Friday, August 25th
Volunteers will be out again this Daffodil Day to show that the work of organisations like the Cancer Council gives HOPE to so many. Hope that the causes of this disease will be better understood; hope that improved methods of treatment will result from all the research being undertaken; and hope that flows from knowing how much support there is out there in the community. Purchase a daffodil, a badge, a pen, or other merchandise on the day, or simply make a donation, and you are giving hope to cancer patients across NSW. And if you can spare the time to help out by volunteering to collect on that Friday, please contact Cancer Council on 4223 0200. Every daffodil and every donation grows hope.







Word of a “Secret Garden Party”
The hard-working volunteers at Can Assist Southern Highlands are currently spreading the word about what they have called a Secret Garden Party coming up on Sunday September 24th from 3 to 6 pm. Working on the kind offer of a local resident to make a private garden available, they have put together an inviting event for the spring season. (It’s not really a secret : once you purchase a ticket, the address for the location of the garden will be shown on the ticket.) The entry price of $55 will cover all food, drinks, entertainment, and the tour of the garden. It is important to emphasise that all funds raised from this event will go to the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist. For tickets and further information you can contact Margaret on 4861 2347 or Merrillyn 0403 620 777.

“Light the Night” event
On October 6th from 5.30-8.30pm this Leukaemia Foundation event will be held at Bradman Oval, Bowral. 
Today another 35 people will be told they have blood cancer. Be the light in their darkest hour at this inspiring twilight event.
Now in its tenth year, Light the Night is a unique fundraising event bringing Australia’s blood cancer community together in more than 140 locations to remember and reflect during a moving ceremony and short lantern walk. Those attending raise money beforehand to help give local families facing blood cancer the emotional and practical support that will light the way forward. Light the Night fundraisers all receive a coloured lantern to carry as darkness falls and celebrate what they’ve achieved to help people with blood cancer. Last year, more than 35,000 people from every Australian state and territory attended a Light the Night.

To register or find out more, go to www.lightthenight.org.au or ring 1800 500 088.


Facts do help
With the sudden news of a cancer diagnosis, we don’t always know where we stand. For some people, it soon creates real financial hardship, especially where one cannot continue in paid employment. For others, it may even raise legal or workplace issues : for instance “What exactly are my rights in this situation ?” To provide sound guidance for cancer patients facing questions like these, Cancer Council NSW has a number of booklets and fact sheets available. They cover relevant topics like your finances and your rights, dealing with debts, superannuation, and work-related cancers. You can download any of more than a dozen of these from the website at www.cancercouncil.com.au and just do a search for “Legal and financial issues fact sheets”.

Coming Events

• RCA event : “Passion on the Field” at Randwick Racecourse, Aug 19
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. Aug 22 RSVP Katie
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Wed. Aug 23
• Daffodil Day, Friday August 25
• Blue September is to raise awareness of all cancers affecting men
• Can Assist Meeting, 10am Sept 12 at BDCU, Bowral.
* R U OK Day will be on Thursday, Sept 14
• Can Assist event : A “Secret Garden Party” in Bowral, 3-6pm, Sunday Sept 24
• “Light the Night” for Leukaemia Foundation, Bradman Oval, 5.30-8.30pm Oct. 6.
• RCA function : Sick or Treat Charity Ball, Sydney, Oct. 27. Visit RCA website.

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


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Cancer Connections - May 2017

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Cancer Services Directory 2017 now available

Did you miss out on a copy of this year’s Directory ? Don’t worry. A hard copy of the booklet can be obtained from the Cancer Centre within the Southern Highlands Private Hospital. As was done last year, the booklet also can be flipped to the other end to give a copy of the Health Guide as well. So, two for one. Our theme for this issue of the Directory is the important topic of palliative care with a number of articles specially written for the theme. You will also find information there about the efforts being made across the state to increase the resources allocated to this field. For those who like to access information online, our Directory is now also available as a Fairfax special publication. You will find a link to it on the Directory page of this website or it can be viewed at the Fairfax site : click here  


‘I Care for Palliative Care’ meeting 
Over 50 people attended the Bowral ‘I Care for Palliative Care’ meeting which was convened by Margaret Mogg. Those present heard from Jane Mahony, a local palliative care nurse now in private practice, who explained palliative care and how important it is. Carolyn Grenville from Cancer Council’s Sydney office outlined what the campaign was about and why NSW needs more specialist doctors and specialist nurses in the palliative care field and culturally appropriate Aboriginal services. Matt Aiken, a local resident, spoke movingly of the help he and his wife received from LHD palliative care staff when his wife had terminal breast cancer. Many more pledges of support for palliative care were signed on the day. The MP for Wollondilly, Jai Rowell, was unwell and could not attend but the call for more resources in this field has been conveyed to him. The link to the video clip that was shown at the meeting is www.canact.com.au/palliativecare

“Connecting the Future” seminar

Again on the same theme, this event has been organised for Palliative Care Week (May 21-27) by the Southern Highlands Community Hospice committee. Speakers will include Dr Yvonne McMaster OAM, retired palliative care specialist, and Jane Mahony, a senior nurse consultant, Palliative and Aged Care Consultancy Services. The venue will be St Jude’s Auditorium, Bendooley Street, Bowral, and it takes place on Tuesday, May 23, 9.30am-12pm. Entry is free but book, for catering purposes, at one of the Hospice shops or online at www.shchospice.org.au/news


Coming Events
• Dance for Cancer, Mittagong RSL, 6-11.45pm, May 19. Tickets must be purchased at the Club or by calling 4872 6700.
• National Palliative Care Week will be May 21-27.

• “Connecting the Future” Palliative Care Week forum, St Jude’s, 9.30am-12pm, May 23

• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group meet at SH Private Hospital, 10-11.30 am, Tues. May 23. RSVP Katie on 4862 9400
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Wed. May 24
• Biggest Morning Tea (BMT) will be held on Thurs. May 25 or other dates nearby
• Southern Highlands Cancer Centre’s BMT is Fri. May 26, 10am-2pm
• World No Tobacco Day is always May 31
• June is Bowel Cancer Awareness month

• Can Assist meeting June 13th, 10am. Note new venue : BDCU, Bong Bong St, Bowral.


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 - 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 - 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 www.lgfb.org.au/workshop 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 info@sh-cancerconnect.com.au


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