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

• 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


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


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

“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

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


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 - August 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014

Cancer Council grant for the Southern Highlands
It is important to support breast cancer patients by monitoring for the early detection of lymphoedema following treatment. The Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee has just been awarded a grant of $7,150 which will fund the software required for two years’ operation of an apparatus to monitor for lymphoedema. A Breast Care nurse and a lymphoedema specialist trained in using the monitor are available at the Cancer Centre. Early detection of this condition post-operation leads to better outcomes and may reduce the long term effects caused by a late diagnosis. Following the great result of the 2014 Relay For Life held in the Southern Highlands, our committee had applied for the grant from Cancer Council NSW and we were delighted to be successful.

Cancer Centre Information Session

On Tuesday September 16th staff at the Southern Highlands Private Hospital will provide a valuable presentation for any cancer patient or future patient, their family members, and also carers. This instructive presentation, running from 10.30am til noon, will give insight into the treatment process, what to expect, and introduces the trained professionals who make up the support team. All the services available to assist patients will be outlined. Anyone interested in attending should ring Jo Pearson, Nurse Unit Manager, on 4862 9470. Full details are shown on this website under the “News and Events” tab.

Pictured after the Information Session held in July (L to R) : Richard Vines, who spoke to the meeting about Rare Cancers Australia; Jo Pearson; Peter Coupland, who helped present the session.

Daffodil Day, Friday, August 22nd
The golden daffodil, so well-identified with Cancer Council, was chosen as the symbol of hope for all affected by cancer because of its reputation as a hardy annual flower, pushing its way through the earth after a long winter to herald the return of spring, new life, vitality and growth. As one of the first flowers of an approaching spring, the daffodil symbolises rebirth and new beginnings. To Cancer Council, the daffodil represents hope for a cancer-free future. This year the wonderful band of volunteers will be out in our community raising funds on Daffodil Day, Friday, August 22nd. Some collections may take place on nearby days.

New Blood Cancer Support Group
A support group for patients and carers affected by blood cancer will be commencing this September. If you are interested, please contact Emily Barry at the Leukaemia Foundation by telephoning 4222 0602. It is anticipated that the group’s inaugural meeting will be held at the Southern Highlands Private Hospital on Wednesday, 17th September.

Community Hospice forum
Do you have questions you would like answered about death and dying, but you've never known who to ask ? An information forum organised by Southern Highlands Community Hospice Inc. called the “Dying To Know Day” will be held at the Mittagong RSL Club, 10am to 3pm on Saturday, August 23rd. Admission is free. For full details, see the item under the “News and Events” tab on this website or visit the hospice website at

Changes to Medicare Local
What is going to happen in 2015 to South West Sydney Medicare Local which covers our district ? A session entitled “Future of Medicare Local” will be held at Mittagong RSL, 11am-12.30pm, Tuesday, August 26th. Telephone Amy Humphries 1300 179 765.

Coming Events
• Daffodil Day raising funds for Cancer Council, Friday, August 22
• Community Hospice “Dying To Know Day”, Mittagong RSL, 10am-3pm Aug. 23
• “Future of Medicare Local”, Mittagong RSL, 11am-12.30pm, Aug. 26
• Can Assist Annual Branch meeting, Thurs. Sept. 11th, 10.30am at Pepperfield
• Cancer Centre Information Session at SH Private Hospital, Sept 16
• Blood Cancer Support Group at SH Private Hospital, September 17
• “Bounce Forward” program at SH Private Hospital, Sept. 20-21
• YWCA Encore program commences at Henley Brae, Wed. October 15. Contact Mandy Lawson on 4868 3246 or 0438 68 3246.

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)
0407 234 780 or


Cancer Connections - July 2014

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Prostate cancer outside the cities

Research recently published in the “Medical Journal of Australia” shows that men with prostate cancer in regional and rural areas of NSW have significantly lower survival rates than their city dwelling counterparts. The study looked at the geographic differences in 10-year survival rates for prostate cancer in NSW and found that men living in rural NSW are 32% more likely to die from prostate cancer than men from the city. The good news was that, in the last two decades, 10-year survival rates have increased from 57% to 84%. However the inequality between regional and city survival rates has not reduced.

Why ? Some possible reasons : men from regional and rural areas are less likely to get diagnosed; or less access to services; or a culture of self reliance and independence among men in rural communities leads to less use of available services. All the details of the research report are available, just click here.

Residents in the Southern Highlands who seek information or support on prostate matters can contact our local support group by ringing its organiser, Tom Carroll, on 0419482208.

Daffodil Day, Friday, August 22nd - Show You Care
The golden daffodil, so well-identified with Cancer Council, was chosen as the symbol of hope for all affected by cancer because of its reputation as a hardy annual flower, pushing its way through the earth after a long winter to herald the return of spring, new life, vitality and growth. As one of the first flowers of an approaching spring, the daffodil symbolises rebirth and new beginnings. To Cancer Council, the daffodil represents hope for a cancer-free future. This year the wonderful band of volunteers will be out in our community raising funds on Daffodil Day, Friday, August 22nd. Some collections may take place on nearby days.

Plain packaging of cigarettes is working
An article published on June 24th in the Sydney Morning Herald showed that, contrary to recent misinformation from the tobacco industry, Australia’s world-first introduction of plain packaging is already leading to health benefits. The author, Professor David Currow, is Chief Cancer Officer and CEO, Cancer Institute NSW. He listed two purposes of this long-term public health policy : to reduce the attractiveness of smoking to consumers – most importantly young people – and to increase the visibility of graphic health warnings.

Prof. Currow reported that, since the introduction of plain packaging in 2012, there has been solid, peer-reviewed and transparent evidence of its effectiveness. This is seen in the significantly greater numbers of people calling the Quitline after the introduction of plain packaging and in the increase in smokers' urgency to quit. This is in line with figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing a decline in tobacco sales. The policy, however, is a measure designed to work as part of a comprehensive tobacco control strategy and its full efficacy should be observed over time.

Community Hospice forum

Do you have questions you would like answered about death and dying, but you've never known who to ask ? Here is advance notice of an information forum being organised by Southern Highlands Community Hospice Inc. They have come up with a striking title : “Dying To Know Day” and it will be held at the Mittagong RSL Club, 10am to 3pm on Saturday, August 23rd. Full details are provided in our News & Events item click here, or visit the hospice website at

Coming Events
• “Dry July” is a month for raising funds for families with cancer
• “Call to Arms” in July - football teams support action against cancer
• Jeans for Genes Day is on Friday, August 1st
• Can Assist meeting, Thurs., August 14th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital.
• Daffodil Day will raise funds for Cancer Council on Friday, August 22nd
• Community Hospice “Dying To Know Day”, Mittagong RSL, 10am-3pm Aug. 23rd

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)
0407 234 780 or


Recent Posts


Southern Highlands Community Hospice Cancer Centre daffodil Wingecarribee breast cancer palliative Local Health District CanAct "Saving Life 2019" southern highlands cancer leadership committee bowel candidates cancer support co-payments bowel cancer DNA "Thing about cancer" cancer research leukaemia BMT Bounce Forward prostate support group community service March Charge paws pet therapy zumba preventing cancer accor hotels accommodation SWSLHD Quit Smoking Peter Coupland McGrath Foundation website smoking rates bereavement tobacco Cancer Council haematology blood cancer DonateLife Martine Rolff haematologist myeloma ywcaencore IPTAAS Mother's Day Classic prostate cancer palliative care VIHS southern highlands "forgotten cancers" prostate lymphoma YWCA Encore Jai Rowell business awards cancer committee southern highlands cancer connect chemotherapy community hospice relay for life smoking Rare Cancers Australia breast Miss Relay colon cancer highlands cancer men's health month prostate cancer support group Dance for Cancer colorectal Venice Carnivale lymphoedema cancer services directory Biggest Morning Tea Southern Highlands Cancer Centre General and Practical Support "Connecting the Future" "less common cancers" Walk for Breast Cancer southern highlands cancer services directory BowelCare Encore program smoke free support group WHAM patient transport Summerlees melanoma oncology nicotine transport LG...FB community cancer fund sunsmart e-cigarettes cancer Daffodil Day Living Well cancer support group Portacath pink Can Assist cancers of the blood volunteer Wollondilly Cancer Support Group donation colon "Light the Night" GAPS cancer prevention portacatheter sharon stewart Emergency Care hospice breast cancer support group Mount Kosciuszko Challenge screening Look Good...Feel Better