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 - October 2015

Friday, October 23, 2015

Chemotherapy co-payments removed
During September, the NSW Government followed through on their pre-election commitment to abolish chemotherapy co-payments for all patients. Prior to this, some people were being charged co-payments for highly specialised chemotherapy, and others were not. The promise to no longer require a co-payment for chemotherapy (and a number of other treatments) came as a result of the ‘Saving Life’ campaign conducted by Cancer Council NSW throughout all electorates in the run up to the election. It’s great to see that the Government has now acted on this so quickly.

Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group
The first meeting of this new local support group catering for any cancer patients (and their carers) was most successful. The inaugural meeting saw 19 people attend which provides a sound basis for continuing support. The group will hold their next gathering on Thursday, October 22nd, 10.00am to 11.30. Venue : conference room of the Southern Highlands Private Hospital. Anyone interested in attending is invited to telephone Jo Pearson or Katie Moran on 4862 9470.

Bounce Forward !

The valuable initiative ‘Bounce Forward’ (previously called ‘Living Well Now’) is a two-day program which will be held at the Southern Highlands Private Hospital on Saturday and Sunday, 28th & 29th November. It provides practical tools for finding peace amidst the turmoil of a cancer diagnosis. The course was developed here in the Southern Highlands by Dr Louella Crawford, a GP and psychotherapist, and Jo Pearson, the Nursing Unit Manager at the Cancer Centre. Further details are available on the flyer shown on this website. Just look under the 'News and Events' tab above. If you would like to make a booking, please contact Jo on 4862 9470.

Organise an event for PINK October and raise funds for Cancer Council NSW

More news bites
The Southern Highlands Spring Auto Fair held at Berrima PS in September raised $20,000 !! Proceeds were donated to the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre. What a fabulous effort by all involved.
The General and Practical Support program (GAPS) is in need of volunteer drivers. Anyone who feels they can help transport cancer patients to or from consultations, treatment, etc is asked to contact Sally Hudson at Cancer Council NSW on 4223 0205.

October is PINK month and we are even more aware of cancer in our community. If you have a relevant local cancer service you wish to see given a free listing in our Cancer Services Directory to be issued in Southern Highland News next March, just send me an email at

• Tom Carroll has organised another Men’s Health Month on behalf of Wingecarribee Health Association for Men (WHAM). There will be four events on Monday evenings in this November, starting on Monday 9th at 6pm. The venue is the new auditorium at St Jude’s Anglican Church, Bowral. For all the details, look on this website under the 'News and Events' tab.

Rare Cancers Australia has organised the ‘Sick or Treat Sessions’, a series of presentations by medical academics and cancer specialists, to be held at the University of Sydney on Oct. 28. For all details, visit their website at or call into their office in Springetts Arcade or else contact RCA on 4862 2768.

Coming Events
• October is PINK month. Organise a Girls Night In during October
• Can Assist fundraiser : movie “The Dressmaker” at Empire Cinema, Oct. 22
• Cancer Council’s Pink Ribbon Day – don’t forget to buy a ribbon
• National Bandanna Day against childhood cancer is Sat. Oct. 31
• Men’s Health Month, four Mondays in Nov., starting Nov. 9. See above
• Can Assist meeting Nov. 12, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• “Bounce Forward” program will now be on Nov. 28-29. See above.
• Advance Notice : RFL 2016 on April 2-3 at Moss Vale Showground.

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)
0407 234 780 or


Cancer Connections - April 2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The removal of chemo co-payments

An end is now in sight for the practice of some public hospitals charging cancer patients a co-payment for their chemotherapy. At other public hospitals, these drugs were provided at no charge, creating a bit of a lottery depending on where you happened to be treated. The recent NSW election has brought about the change. After the ALP promised to abolish the co-payment, the Baird Government made the same commitment and then went on to include charges for the drugs for treatment of HIV, hepatitis, cystic fibrosis and organ transplants as well. We now await an announcement of when these fees will no longer be charged.

Cancer Services Directory 2015 now available

With the publication of this year’s Southern Highlands Cancer Services Directory inside the Southern Highland News last month, we have been getting feedback and reactions to the new format. This has been the first time in our 7 years of issuing the Directory that it has been combined with the Southern Highlands Health Guide in one booklet. The responses so far have been most positive about the change to a two-cover “flip” booklet and its A5 format also remains popular. Missed your copy ? Some spare copies are available from the Cancer Centre within the private hospital. As well as that, the whole Directory can now be viewed online from this website simply by clicking on the Directory tab above.

BowelCare Program

I have received word that the well known bowel screening program run by BowelCare Australia will be using a new test kit this year. The kits, which are distributed to pharmacies throughout our district by Rotary, will use the updated technology of a Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) to screen for occult blood. Participating pharmacies in the Southern Highlands should have the new kits available from May 2nd (if not earlier) through to June 27th. The $15 cost for each kit covers pathology testing and notification of results to both you and your nominated doctor.

Bowel cancer refers to a cancer in any part of the large bowel (the colon or the rectum). It is sometimes also known as colorectal cancer. Bowel cancer grows from the inner lining of the bowel and may develop from growths on the bowel wall called polyps. Polyps are usually benign (or harmless), but they may become malignant (cancerous) over time. Information from Cancer Council NSW indicates that bowel cancer is the second most common cancer affecting people in Australia with nearly 17,000 diagnosed with the disease in one year. About one in 17 men and one in 25 women will develop bowel cancer before the age of 75. So, why not “get checked” ?

Cancer Research News

Did you know that Cancer Council NSW spent $14.2 million in the 2013/14 financial year on research into various aspects of cancer ? The total amount invested in their world-class research over the last 10 years has been more than $130m. That’s made possible by the combined efforts of communities like our own across NSW, raising funds to go towards cancer research, prevention, information and support services. What is important here is that this is the only organisation putting funds towards the support of all cancers. Research also helps to prioritise the areas where we can have the greatest impact, so this enhances the outcomes for current and future cancer patients.

Coming Events

• “Field of Women”, Melbourne, May 9
• Mothers Day Classic at Bong Bong Racecourse, 3km walk & 5km run, May 10
• National Volunteer Week, May 11-17
• Can Assist meeting, Thurs. May 14, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• Biggest Morning Tea, Thurs. May 28 or on nearby dates. The local Cancer Centre will be holding their Biggest Morning Tea on Monday 25th

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)
0407 234 780 or


Cancer Connections - March 2015

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Progress on removing chemo co-payments
Following on from the announcement in this column last month of improvements to the Isolated Patient Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS), we now have a further health development in the NSW election campaign. The Labor Opposition has stated that, if elected to government, it will abolish all co-payments for chemotherapy treatment. This is another valuable reform because currently some patients have to make a co-payment at public hospitals each time they begin a new chemo treatment, yet other patients at different public hospitals are not required to pay at all. It is quite an anomaly. Mr Baird has stated that his Government is considering dropping the co-payment. It is hoped that the Liberal-Nationals will now give a firm commitment to match this improvement.

STOP PRESS : On Sunday, March 22, the Liberal Government has announced that they will remove the co-payments for chemotherapy required for treatment of cancer and for the drugs for treatment of HIV, hepatitis, cystic fibrosis and organ transplants as well. This brings to a successful conclusion the lengthy campaign by Cancer Council NSW and its advocates for an end to the anomaly.

Cancer Services Directory 2015
The material for this year’s Southern Highlands Cancer Services Directory has now been sent to the printers. Its focus will be what happens when there is a cancer diagnosis within a family and what help is available for families in that situation. This 2015 edition – our 7th one – will be a bumper issue because for the first time it will be combined with the Southern Highlands Health Guide to make a super-sized 56-page health booklet. It comes out on Wednesday, March 25th, free in that day’s Southern Highland News. Make sure you get your copy.

The March Charge
Since one in every three cancers can be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle, Cancer Council has introduced “The March Charge” : to encourage the community to run all of the kilometres they can during the month of March, and raise money to aid cancer research, prevention programs and support services. So this March, enlist to push yourself at least 1/3 further or faster or harder than usual. Run all the kilometres you can and help obliterate cancer once and for all. Find out more at

Haematology services in the Southern Highlands

Did you know that, since last year, specialist haematology consultation services are available at the Southern Highlands Private Hospital, Bowral, on two days each month ? Dr Silvia Ling visits on the 1st Monday of each month and Dr Nicole Wong Doo visits on the 2nd Tuesday. Referrals can be made via the Haematology Department at Liverpool : telephone 8738 5167 or fax 8738 5176.

Bounce Forward ! 
The valuable initiative ‘Bounce Forward’ (previously called ‘Living Well’) is a two-day program which will be held at the Southern Highlands Private Hospital on Saturday and Sunday, 21st and 22nd March. To find out more or to make a booking, contact Jo Pearson, the Nursing Unit Manager at the Cancer Centre, on 4862 9472.

Coming Events
• ‘Bounce Forward’ program, Sat.-Sun., March 21-22. Details above.
• Cancer Services Directory free copy in SH News, Wed. March 25th
• National Smile Day inspired by Clown Doctors, April 1st
• Can Assist meeting, Thurs. April 9th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)
0407 234 780 or


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