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 - 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


Cancer Connections - July 2015

Monday, July 20, 2015

Blood Cancer Support Group
Members of the Southern Highlands Blood Cancer Support Group will be continuing to meet since the group has been most worthwhile for its members. The next gathering will be on Tuesday, August 4th from 10am to 12 noon. Any patient receiving treatment for a blood cancer condition who is interested in joining the group is advised to contact the Leukaemia Foundation by telephoning Rachel Seath, Support Co-ordinator, on (02) 4222 0607.

Spring Auto Fair
Have you heard ? The Southern Highlands Spring Auto Fair is coming to Berrima Public School on September 27th, 9am to 2pm. Organised by the Highland Cruisers, this event is to showcase vintage and veteran cars, hot rods, muscle cars and motorcycles – both for those who want to display their vehicles and for families to come and admire them. Contact : Darren Freer 0439 110 358, Phil Walmsley 0438 402 797, or email All proceeds are going to the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre, a most worthy cause.

Donation from BDCU
Another great example of support from our local community : I found that the BDCU (now the BDCU Alliance Bank) recently held a Facebook page competition in which members nominated their favourite local charity. The winning charity was drawn from the hat and awarded the $250 prize. However, when the bank saw just how many had nominated Can Assist as their favourite, they decided to donate an additional $250 to them as well ! Congratulations to Can Assist for being preferred by so many people and well done to BDCU Alliance Bank for their continued support of our community.

Tulip Time 2015
The 2015 Tulip Time Charity Partner is the Garvan Research Foundation. Tulip Time Ambassadors will be Samuel Johnson and his sister Connie, both of whom have been energetically spreading the message about breast cancer awareness through the “Love Your Sister” campaign. Proceeds from this year’s event will be going to improve audio visual capabilities at Garvan's Moss Vale facility and the establishment of the Connie Johnson Breast Cancer Research Fellowship, as well as contributing to training programs in the Wingecarribee community. 

Smoke-free outdoor dining
Readers of this column will remember that it was reported here that the commencement date for the NSW Government’s policy on smoke-free environments in dining areas across the state was July 6th this year. As foreshadowed, further details were made available about this program to reduce the incidence of secondhand tobacco smoke affecting people in outdoor café and dining locations. To find out more about the smoke-free laws, you can visit the website of NSW Health at where the state’s health care policy to create a cleaner environment is fully outlined. It is expected that, in a short while, the law will be understood and complied with. Anyway, why would any coffee shop proprietor risk fines of up to $5,500 by allowing people to smoke next to his other customers ?

Coming Events
• Blood Cancer Support Group will meet at 10am on August 4
• Can Assist meeting August 13, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• Daffodil Day supporting Cancer Council NSW will be Friday, August 28
• Annual Branch meeting of Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist will be held on Sept. 10, 10am in the Lecture Room of the old Bowral Hospital, followed by light refreshments
• Tulip Time Southern Highlands is Sept. 15 - 27
• Spring Auto Fair, Berrima Public School, Sept. 27, 9am-2pm
• Advance Notice : Relay For Life 2016 will be April 2-3 at Moss Vale Showground.

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)
0407 234 780 or


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