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 2019

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Cancer Research remains ESSENTIAL
Continuing on from last month’s mention of some of the progress being made in cancer research, I am providing a brief summary of an item in ‘The New Daily’ which early last month reported on a promising discovery by Australian researchers.

A unique biomarker for cancer

The discovery of a unique DNA signature common to multiple cancers could one day revolutionise the way we diagnose cancer, particularly in its early stages. The cancer marker was identified by scientists at the University of Queensland who have also developed a simple test to detect it in blood and biopsy tissue. Senior researcher Matt Trau (pictured left) said it had been difficult to find a “simple marker” that would distinguish cancer cells from healthy ones. “We never thought this would be possible, because cancer is so complicated,” said Professor Trau. “Even for breast cancer, there are a dozen types, so we thought there would be different tests for different types of cancer.” The researchers were surprised to find the marker appeared in every type of breast cancer they examined, as well as in people with prostate cancer, colorectal cancer and lymphoma.


“Usually, the approach to find cancer markers … is to look at the sequence of DNA,” Professor Trau said. Taking a different tack, he and his colleagues looked instead at patterns of molecules called methyl groups, which decorate the DNA and control which genes are switched on and off. The position of these molecules forms part of the epigenome. The researchers found that in healthy cells, methyl groups are spread out across the genome. But on the genomes of cancer cells, methyl groups were positioned in intense clusters at specific locations. “Virtually every piece of cancerous DNA we examined had this highly predictable pattern,” Professor Trau said. The researchers developed a test which can detect cancer cells by picking up this epigenetic pattern in blood and biopsy tissue.

Associate Professor Elin Gray, a senior cancer researcher at Edith Cowan University, said the research was an exciting piece of work that offered “a lot of potential”. “It’s in its early stages and will have to be validated … but I think it’s very interesting - it’s a totally different approach.”

Cancer referrals on the increase

Our tireless Secretary of the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist, Terry Hughes, reports that the number of new cancer patients getting in touch with our branch since the start of July 2018 is already 63. I can indicate that this does represent an increase on previous years. New referrals of people diagnosed with cancer and seeking some form of support from Can Assist numbered 93 in 2015/2016, 105 in 2016/2017 and 104 in 2017/2018. The work of the local charity is only made possible by the continuing generosity of donors in the Southern Highlands who give directly or who support the many fundraising activities held in the name of Can Assist. Anyone wishing to hold a function to benefit their work should get in touch with the Secretary by email to gandt@live.com so that the appropriate approval can be organised.


Coming Events
• Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist will meet at Mittagong RSL Club, 10am Feb 12th.

• Rare Cancers Australia hold their Mount Kosciuszko Challenge and inaugural “Parliament to Peak” cycle ride in March. Climb from Thredbo to the summit on Sat. March 2nd. Full details on the RCA website at www.kosichallenge.com.au


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


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Cancer Connections - December 2018

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Cancer Research is ESSENTIAL
Ever wondered why cancer charities need to raise so much money ? Apart from the funds which go towards promoting cancer education, information and prevention; supporting patients undergoing treatment; and advocating for advances, a large proportion of the money raised goes to fund necessary research. This month I thought I would illustrate what goes on by mentioning in detail just two research projects which have been undertaken.

Killing the cells causing liver cancer
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. Prof. Liddle 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.

Bowel cancer treatment
Bowel cancer is the second most common cancer in Australia, with about 15,000 new cases diagnosed every year. Women have a 1 in 30 chance of getting bowel cancer before the age of 75, while men have a 1 in 21 chance. Survival rates have only slightly increased in recent years. When bowel cancer is detected early, it is potentially curable, however less than 40% of bowel cancers are picked up in these early stages. Despite the progress being made in developing targeted therapies for other forms of cancer, effective treatments for advanced bowel cancer are still needed. That’s why it is essential that research is directed into the prevention and treatment of bowel cancer. Cancer Council NSW committed $360,000 in funding 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. While research is still ongoing, this finding represents a big step towards creating personalised bowel cancer therapies that are effective in targeting the disease at the molecular level.

Season’s Good Wishes
On a different note than above, let’s recognise all the great work that goes on in our local community with marvellous health professionals delivering specialist care and with so many volunteers raising funds and providing valuable support to patients. Our committee salutes you all and offers seasonal best wishes to every one of you.

Coming Events

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

• There is no meeting of the Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group planned for December
• Please note : the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist will not be holding a meeting in January. The work of branch executive members will be carried on as usual. The next meeting will be held 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 - July 2018

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Cancer Services Directory 2018 now online

Our 2018 edition is now out in the community thanks to the support of Southern Highland News. If you did miss out on the flip-style A5 booklet, with the Health Guide at the other end, copies will still be available if you enquire at the Southern Highland News office or at the Cancer Centre within the Private Hospital. The next step is for me to let everyone know that, from this website, our Directory can now also be read online, courtesy of Fairfax special publications, as an interactive digital magazine. Simply go to the Directory tab above and click on the link provided. It’s all there.


Southern Highlands Breast Cancer Support Group
Meeting on the 4th Wednesday of each month 10am to 12 noon at the Mittagong RSL, this group provides information and support to breast cancer patients and survivors. The concept is one of building a safe, supportive and confidential environment. For more information, contact the volunteer facilitator, Lesley McPherson, on 0438001177.

Telephone Support Groups

Cancer Council has had over 10 years’ experience at conducting telephone support groups to offer support and information to adults affected by cancer, including patients, families and carers. Wherever you are in Australia, you can talk with people who are in a similar situation and share experiences and information. The groups give and receive support by sharing practical tips, tools and strategies. Each group has 3-8 members and two qualified facilitators. Groups get together over the phone twice a month; it’s free and confidential. To join or find out more, call Cancer Council 13 11 20 or 1300 755 632 or email tsg@nswcc.org.au









CanTeen

If you’re a teenager with a cancer diagnosis, you can connect with others your own age by joining the CanTeen community. No-one is able to understand quite what you are going through as well as another teenager who has been on a similar journey. Teenagers can connect online or face-to-face. Just visit their website for all the information.


Encore Program

Breast cancer survivors in the Southern Highlands will have an opportunity to take part in the next YWCA Encore program in Mittagong. If you or someone you know is interested in joining the program, the next course will run on Wednesdays, Oct. 17 to Dec. 5. For more information, check out their website www.ywcaencore.org.au Registration is essential : Contact Encore’s Co-ordinator, Vicki Totsis, on 02 9285 6264 or email encore@ywcansw.com.au







Drivers needed to fill GAPS
The General and Practical Support program (GAPS) is a volunteer activity supported by Cancer Council NSW. We have volunteer drivers using their own cars, or the vehicle supplied by Cancer Council, to take cancer patients to medical consultations or treatment. At the moment we need more volunteers willing to help with longer trips, which often means taking people to treatment in Sydney and return. If you are able to help, please get in touch with Megan Mattingly (0242230254) who will explain what is involved.

Coming Events
• Note : There will be no meeting of Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group in July. Meetings resume in August.
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, July 25

• Can Assist Annual Branch Meeting, Mittagong RSL Club (not BDCU) 10am August 21

(Note : it’s the 3rd Tuesday, not the 2nd. Please note the change of venue as well.)
• Daffodil Day this year will be Friday, August 24.
* Film Night fundraiser for Can Assist, Sept 20, 6 for 6.30pm. See details under "News & Events" tab above.
• YWCA Encore program, Mittagong, Wednesdays, Oct. 17 to Dec. 5. See details above.
• Advance Notice : Relay for Life Southern Highlands 2018 will be held at Moss Vale Showground from 11am Sat. Oct. 20 to 11am Sun. Oct. 21.

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


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Cancer Connections - March 2018

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Patient Transport Drivers’ celebration
Mittagong RSL was the venue for a celebration provided for the volunteer drivers who take cancer patients in the Cancer Council bus up to Campbelltown and back for anything up to five days per week. The function was held to mark the 10 year anniversary of this necessary service for Wingecarribee patients being treated at the Macarthur Cancer Therapy centre. It also recognised the achievement of Terry Liebmann who has been the volunteer local co-ordinator of the drivers for all that time. Terry has now stepped down from that role and the celebration acknowledged his essential contribution. I was able to call in for part of the event and what was impressive was the large group of drivers involved, men and women, and the great spirit which clearly exists between them. Maybe this explains the striking fact that, of the 12 original volunteers, 8 of them are still taking part after 10 years. Their excellent assistance to patients has been further recognised by the fact that Cancer Council has just provided a brand new bus to replace the original one.



Pictured above are the team of bus drivers who make the system work. 

Retiring co-ordinator, Terry Liebmann, is standing 5th from the right.


Rotary BowelCare program
I have received word from BowelCare Australia that their voluntary screening program carried out under the auspices of the Rotary Club of East Gosford will be operating all through April and May this year. This means that anytime in those two months people can purchase a BowelCare test kit for $15 from local pharmacies. The price includes pathology testing, with notification of your result to both yourself and your nominated doctor. Your result will be issued within 30 days of your test kit being received by pathology. Most of our local pharmacies take part in the program and a full listing is available on the website www.bowelcare.org.au

Blood Cancer Support Group

For some time now, people who are blood cancer patients in the Southern Highlands have had support available through The Leukaemia Foundation. Part of this help involved the benefit of having a blood cancer support group which was co-ordinated by Rachael Seath. A new co-ordinator has now been appointed to that role : Snezana Djordjevic and she can be contacted at the Leukaemia Foundation’s Wollongong office on 4222 0601. Their useful website is at http://leukaemia.org.au and their email address is info@leukaemia.org.au


Cancer Services Directory 2018
On the same theme, the 2018 issue of our Southern Highlands Cancer Services Directory will have as its focus the important topic of blood cancers. A number of special articles will cover aspects of this lesser-known area of the cancer field with the lead article written by a haematologist. Our Directory will be published in May this year in an issue of the Southern Highland News as one of their Special Publications. Anyone wishing to advertise in that A5 booklet can contact the sales staff at the News office on 4861 2333.

New Co-ordinator for GAPS

A quick mention that we now have Cheryl Hinton assisting with the co-ordination of the GAPS program. Cheryl is a most welcome recruit since she provides relief for Joan Harrison who has fulfilled that role so well over so many years. You can read more about the General and Practical Support service here on this website; just go to the QuickLink on the LHS of screen. The GAPS contact number remains the same : 0428681926 M-F, 9am-5pm.


Coming Events
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. March 27 RSVP Katie
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, March 28
• Can Assist Meeting at BDCU Bowral, 10am, April 10

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 - June 2017

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

“Connecting the Future” seminar success

This event was organised for Palliative Care Week by the Southern Highlands Community Hospice committee. Speakers included Dr Yvonne McMaster OAM, the retired palliative care specialist who initiated the “Push for Palliative” campaign, and Jane Mahony, a local senior nurse consultant in the field. An audience numbering about 80 heard informative presentations from both and later gained an insight into current planning for the hospice building to be constructed in Bowral. The draft drawings for the building were on display and stimulated much discussion.

Visit of the Premier to Bowral
June 6 saw the visit by Premier Gladys Berejiklian to the Southern Highlands. A public meeting of 200 locals was hosted by Wollondilly MP Jai Rowell at the Bradman Museum and provided an opportunity for the Premier to speak personally about how she saw her role and to tell us how much she admired all the community work going on in our district.
As I had hoped, I did have an opportunity, after the formal items were over, to speak with the Premier as she mingled. Naturally I wanted to raise the issue of greater resources for palliative care and briefly touched on the main points why this was badly needed. The Premier clearly understands the reasons anyway and nodded as I spoke before she promptly replied : “Grahame, watch this space”.

Announcement on palliative care
Our Cancer Leadership Committee members certainly did “watch this space” and were soon able to see that Gladys had kept her word. On Monday June 12 the NSW Government announced that a record $100 million would be spent over the next four years to increase palliative care services. Out of the numerous benefits which will flow from this extra funding I will just select one : this will mean a much needed improvement in the provision of palliative care throughout regional and rural NSW, areas which have been substantially less well serviced so far. So there is some cause for a sense of achievement among all those who supported this issue : volunteers for Cancer Council NSW; those who “signed the pledge”; those who backed Dr McMaster’s campaign; and ultimately those State MPs from all parties who saw there must be a better way to care for people with a life-limiting illness.
For the latest details on what the Government has announced, please go to our 'News & Events' tab above for the item "Premier's visit to Bowral".



New Car for GAPS drivers !
Here’s a big boost to our free GAPS service to cancer patients – the one which sees those dedicated volunteers driving cancer patients to consultations and treatment and using their own cars to do it. Cancer Council NSW have come good on their promise to provide GAPS drivers with a brand new car. From now on, the “first cab off the rank” you will see transporting a patient – and sometimes the trips are to Liverpool or Concord and back – will be the Toyota RAV4 with its Cancer Council logo. Here is another way in which our community benefits directly from raising funds at events like “Relay for Life” and the hugely successful “Dance for Cancer”.



PAWS Pet Therapy celebration

A dinner will be held by the PAWS Pet Therapy enthusiasts on Saturday July 22 at Centennial Vineyards. Details are on this website under the News & Events tab. This is an innovative organisation of dog owners who take their beautiful pets into hospitals and nursing homes to bring cheer to so many. They can always accommodate more pet lovers so if you and your dog can volunteer, ring Sharon Stewart on 4681 0499.


Coming Events
• June is Bowel Cancer Awareness month
• July is Dry July

• Can Assist meeting Tuesday, July 11, 10am at BDCU, Bowral

• PAWS Pet Therapy function, Centennial Vineyards, July 22, 5-10pm. Details above.
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. July 25 RSVP Katie on 4862 9400
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Wed. July 26

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 - 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 - September 2016

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Smoking rates in NSW are changing
Data from NSW Health shows that the younger generations are driving a dramatic drop in smoking rates while rusted-on older smokers are finding it harder to quit or have given up. Across the board, smoking rates have dropped another two percentage points from 15.6% to 13.5%. The population survey, which interviews roughly 13,000 people across the state every year, found that smoking rates have declined by 10% since 2003. But among 45-54 year-olds, smoking rates jumped more than two per cent. They hardly budged among people aged 65 and over, and rose slightly among those aged 75 and over. Anita Dessaix, Manager of Cancer Prevention at Cancer Institute NSW, commented that the message, particularly for older people, is not to despair but to keep trying. There is hope and support for them to quit smoking.













Please note : For lots of tips on where to turn for Quit Smoking support, take a look at our webpage under the Prevention tab above, or just click here

Parliamentary support
We were joined at the Daffodil Day stall in Springetts Arcade this August by Jai Rowell, MP for Wollondilly. Besides adding his backing for this annual fundraiser, Jai also signed the Cancer Council pledge “I care for palliative care”, as part of the current campaign. Following this, we discussed the issue of haematology services for local patients without private health cover and found that the local member undertook to take up the matter with senior Health personnel. Such political support is significant to our drive for better patient outcomes on both of those issues.

“Push for Palliative” Petition
Last week, Thursday September 15, saw further discussion in the NSW Parliament on the petition for more palliative care. Margaret Mogg, a member of our committee, and Virginia Adlide, local “Push for Palliative” Ambassador, were among the supporters from regional NSW supplementing those from Sydney. Over 80 people packed the public gallery to hear the third debate on the petition which has been signed by over 83,000 citizens. This requests staff increases in palliative care medical specialists, specialist nurses and Aboriginal health workers and was presented by the Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner, who described the current enhancement to palliative care services. Other speakers supporting the petition were Adam Crouch (Lib.) MP for Terrigal, Jenny Aitchson (Lab.) MP for Maitland, Trish Doyle (Lab.) MP for the Blue Mountains and David Harris (Lab.) MP for Wyong. Hearing the passion of the speakers we can only hope that the momentum for the campaign will continue and a positive outcome will be achieved.

And in case you missed it :
There were a number of fine speeches made by new members of Federal Parliament this month. These included first speeches by Linda Burney (MP for Barton), Senator Malarndirri McCarthy (NT), and the one by Julian Leeser (MP for Berowra) recounting the sad story of his father’s suicide.

Coming Events

• Southern Highlands Spring Auto Fair at Berrima Public School, Sunday, Sept. 25, 9am to 2pm. For more information, contact Darren Freer 0439110358 or Phil Walmsley 0438402797 or email: shspringautofair@gmail.com Funds to support the SH Cancer Centre Trust Fund.

• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group meet at SH Private Hospital, 10.30am, Sept. 27. RSVP Jo or Katie on 4862 9470

• Look Good Feel Better program at SH Private Hospital, Sept. 27. For details and to register, visit their website at www.lgfb.org.au/workshop or telephone 1800 650 960.

• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Sept. 28.
• Can Assist meeting, Thursday, Oct. 13th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• Pink Ribbon Day will be Friday, Oct. 21, supporting women with breast or gynaecological cancer.

• Rare Cancer Australia’s Sick or Treat Charity Ball, Fri. Oct. 28 : visit RCA website at https://www.rarecancers.org.au


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




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