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 - August 2018

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Saving Life 2019
A conference of 150 advocates and activists in July saw the launch of Cancer Council’s Saving Life 2019 campaign. This will be aimed at building towards the 2019 NSW state election with a clear ask of all candidates whether they will support and promote some important campaign issues. 
These issues will call on the NSW Government to :
• ensure that people working or socialising in bars and clubs are protected from second-hand smoke;
• encourage retailers to stop selling tobacco by banning tobacco vending machines and introducing a licence fee;
• remove junk food advertising from state-owned property to take action on childhood obesity;
• fund public lymphoedema services to ensure people have timely access to evidence-based care.
If you are offered a Saving Life 2019 postcard, please sign it and return to the collector for presentation to your local state MP.

Donation from Southern Highland News
A donation made this month to the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee by Southern Highland News was gratefully received. The donation arose from the publication of the 2018 issue of the Southern Highlands Cancer Services Directory which focussed on blood cancers and for which the committee provided all the editorial content. This financial help is another generous sign of support for our work for cancer patients.

In thanking the newspaper, I said : “Rest assured that we shall put these funds to good use. Firstly, it will allow us to pay the annual fees incurred in maintaining our Committee’s website, Southern Highlands Cancer Connect, at www.sh-cancerconnect.com.au. That means we can continue to spread the word about the range of services available locally to help anyone with a cancer diagnosis. Then, the balance of the funds will all go towards the local branch of Can Assist who do so much to provide financial help to cancer patients in the Wingecarribee.”

Movie Night for Can Assist
As their next fundraiser, the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist have organised another film night. Following the great success of their previous screenings, which have all seen a full house, this one promises to be a light-hearted take on spy action movies. “Johnny English Strikes Again” of course has Rowan Atkinson in the title role and he is beautifully matched by his co-star, Olga Kurylenko. It should be great fun. New Empire Cinemas, Thurs. Sept 20, 6pm for 6.30pm. Tickets $25 at the box office. Details are also on our website.










Daffodil Day
Friday, August 24 will be Daffodil Day and we have a chance to make our annual contribution to the ongoing work of Cancer Council. I learned that the emphasis this year will be moving away a little from the traditional merchandise items on sale and starting to turn more towards an offering of fresh daffodils. Or you can just place a straight donation in the box. Volunteers from the Southern Highlands will be out in force, spread across the district, with stalls at Mittagong Highlands Marketplace; inside Springetts Arcade and outside Coles in Bowral; Coles in Moss Vale; and Sallys Corner, each side of the highway.

Coming Events
• Can Assist Annual Branch Meeting at Mittagong RSL Club, not BDCU, 10am August 21 (Note : 3rd Tuesday, not the 2nd. Please note the change of venue as well.)
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Aug. 22
• Daffodil Day this year will be Friday, August 24.
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. Aug. 28 RSVP Katie
• Can Assist film night “Johnny English Strikes Again”, New Empire Cinemas, Thurs. Sept 20, 6pm for 6.30pm. Tickets $25 at the box office.

• YWCA Encore program, Mittagong, Wednesdays, Oct. 17 to Dec. 5. For details about YWCA Encore, look under the 'Local Services' tab 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 - 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 - May/June 2016

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Do you know about Palliative Care ?
Palliative care is a type of health care provided to those individuals whose illness cannot be cured. It helps the individual to live as well as possible while managing their illness. Palliative care maintains quality of life by controlling physical symptoms – pain, nausea and many others. It also looks at the emotional, social and/or spiritual needs of the individual. It supports the person who is dying and their carers and family. It can be used at any stage during the illness after curative treatment has stopped. Palliative care can be provided in the community for individuals at home, in acute hospitals, inpatient palliative care units and residential aged care. Referrals to community palliative care in the Wingecarribee can be made by telephoning The Triple I Hub on 1800 455 511. National Palliative Care Week 2016 is May 22-28 and there is an event at Bowral and District Hospital, May 27, from about 9am.

Social Worker needed
We heard at the May meeting of our committee that Wingecarribee Community Health would benefit greatly from having a trained social worker give them some time. We all understand how much the care provided by a skilled social worker can relieve a great deal of stress for someone with a cancer diagnosis. If you see yourself helping here - especially if you have had experience in palliative care – please ring Carolyn Le Compte on 4861 8000.

Can Assist needs a Treasurer
While on the issue of important people being needed : do you have the skills to be the Treasurer for a dynamic local charity ? Do you have the desire to make a real contribution to improving the welfare of cancer patients ? The local branch of Can Assist is looking for an Honorary Treasurer to keep their books. Looking after their accounts is a most important role in an organisation which receives substantial sums from so many generous local donors. 
If you can help, ring the Branch Secretary on 0414 865 521.


Transporting Patients

There is a constant need for cancer patients to be driven to various locations when they cannot do it themselves. During April, for instance, the Southern Highlands Patient Transport Service took 68 people to Campbelltown for their cancer treatment. This bus is provided by Cancer Council NSW and is staffed completely by volunteer drivers. It does the run every weekday picking up at Moss Vale, Bowral, Mittagong and points further north. Full details are on this website : just click on the Local Services tab above. In addition, the General and Practical Support service (GAPS) drives patients to their consultations or to meet the bus. That service has 60 bookings already for May and that was only up to the 11th of the month. In April, 15 people were assisted by the GAPS program and they clocked up nearly 3000 kms in that month. For more information : just click on the Local Services tab above.


If you are interested in volunteering to help out in either of these valuable services, Sally Hudson at Cancer Council NSW would like to hear from you. Her number is 4223 0205.


BowelCare Program 2016
Rotary are again distributing kits for bowel screening to pharmacies throughout our district. As was the case last year, the BowelCare Australia kits will use the updated technology of a Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) to screen for occult blood. The new kits are still available from all participating pharmacies in the Southern Highlands during May. The $15 cost for each kit covers pathology testing and notification of results to both you and your nominated doctor. Full instructions are included within the kit package.

Coming Events
• The Cancer Centre has a Biggest Morning Tea at SH Private Hospital May 19th & 20th.
• National Palliative Care Week is May 22-28
• Palliative Care event at Bowral Hospital, May 27 from about 9am
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group meet at private hospital, 10am, May 24. RSVP Jo or Katie on 4862 9470
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Wed. May 25
• Can Assist meeting, Thursday, June 9th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• Look Good Feel Better program at SH Private Hospital, July 12.

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





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Cancer Connections - September 2015

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Bacteria to eat nicotine ?
Most people who smoke cigarettes know it’s bad for their health, but quitting is notoriously difficult. To make it easier, scientists are taking a brand-new approach. They are turning to bacteria that thrive on nicotine, the addictive component in tobacco. In the Journal of the American Chemical Society, they report successful tests on a bacterial enzyme that breaks down nicotine and could potentially dull its effects in humans.

The researchers used an enzyme called NicA2 that comes from Pseudomonas putida, a kind of bacteria already known to degrade tobacco waste. In lab tests, NicA2 broke down all the nicotine in blood samples within 30 minutes. If the enzyme could be used to remove nicotine from smokers’ blood, this would reduce or eliminate the addictive component of smoking. Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable disease, disability and death. Mice given the enzyme showed no observable side effects. More research needed. Early days yet.



No sales of e-cigarettes to under 18 years
New laws have come into force in NSW banning the sale of electronic cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18. E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that heat a liquid which may contain nicotine, to create a mist to be inhaled by the user, a process known as vaping. The CEO of the Heart Foundation NSW, Kerry Doyle, said : “The trouble with e-cigarettes is that we don’t know what’s in a lot of them. What we do know is that in NSW a great proportion of the ones that were tested by our own health department actually had nicotine, which is a scheduled poison.” The NSW Government passed laws in June to address concerns that e-cigarettes could act as a gateway to tobacco smoking in children.

Mira Glavan speaks to Can Assist

On Thursday September 15, I was able to attend the annual meeting of Can Assist’s Southern Highlands branch and noted that this year marks their 55th year of service to our local community. What a record. It has all been achieved by local volunteers raising funds to help local cancer patients. The guest speaker was Mira Glavan, the Clinical Nurse Consultant in Palliative Care, who gave a most informative presentation to explain how palliative care nowadays focuses on achieving the best quality of life for those with an incurable illness. Rather than merely helping at “end of life”, today’s program of support can be provided 3 or 6 months earlier than that. Survey results have shown that the Wingecarribee Palliative Care team have received the highest praise from patients and their loved ones. If you would like to donate to the work of Can Assist, their postal address is PO Box 693, Bowral, or you can find all their contact details on the Can Assist webpage on this website click here


WARNING : Bogus phone calls have been made by someone asking for donations for “Bowral Cancer Centre”. This is a scam. 
There is no such collection. Just hang up.

Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group
A local support group, catering for any cancer patients (and their carers), is soon to be formed. The first meeting of the Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group will be held on Thursday, 24th September, 10-11.30am in the conference room of the Southern Highlands Private Hospital. Anyone interested in attending is invited to telephone Jo Pearson on 4862 9472.

Coming Events
• September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
• September is also Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
• SH Blood Cancer Support Group will meet on Sept. 23
• First meeting of Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, Thurs, Sept. 24, 10.00 – 11.30am, conference room, Southern Highlands Private Hospital
• Bright Pink Lipstick Day in aid of breast & ovarian cancer issues, Fri. Sept. 25
• Spring Auto Fair, Berrima Public School, Sept. 27, 9am-2pm
• Organise a Girls Night In during October
• Can Assist meeting Oct. 8, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• Home & Garden Show will be at Bong Bong Racecourse, Oct. 10th-11th
• Can Assist fundraiser : movie “The Dressmaker” at Empire Cinema, Oct. 22
• Please note : a full program of “Bounce Forward” will now be on Nov. 21-22

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






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Cancer Connections - February 2015

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Greater support for regional patients

It was encouraging to learn of a commitment made by the NSW Liberal and National parties to implement further improvements to the IPTAAS scheme. This is the Isolated Patient Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme which provides assistance to those rural and regional patients who need to travel a long distance in NSW for medical treatment. The enhanced program being proposed would see an increase in the petrol subsidy, increases in the accommodation subsidy rates, and a reduction in the patient co-payment. Commitments were given that, if re-elected, the Government would also simplify the IPTAAS forms, make some further services eligible for claims, and make the claims process itself much easier for people to use. It is hoped that the State Opposition will give a similar undertaking to match these improvements.

Our Patron the Mayor

The Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee is very pleased to announce that the Mayor of Wingecarribee Shire, Duncan Gair, has accepted the position of Patron of the committee. In indicating his willingness to fulfill this role, the Mayor acknowledged that the Cancer Leadership Committee’s annual Cancer Services Directory is a very important publication assisting all those affected by cancer in our shire.

Cancer research

In a new study by Cancer Research UK, almost half the participants did not see their GP despite suffering cancer "alarm" warning signs. Commenting on the study, Professor Sandro Porceddu, a radiation oncologist and clinical advisor to Cancer Council Australia, says one in two Australians will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. This is not meant as a scary statistic; it is not a cause for alarm so much as a call for awareness. "In Australia, we have one of the highest cancer survival rates in the world," Professor Porceddu says. "If detected early, we have a much greater chance of surviving." For instance, did you know that an Australian dies of melanoma every six hours. Every two and a half hours someone dies of bowel cancer, yet 90% of such deaths would have been prevented if detected early.



The conclusion from these findings is that, if you have a concern about a health problem which has not gone away, consult your GP. Early detection saves lives.

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.

Cancer Services Directory 2015

Our material for this year’s edition of the Southern Highlands Directory is ready for publication. For this year our focus is going to centre on cancer within families and what help is available for families in that situation. A big change from previous years will see the booklet combined with the Southern Highlands Health Guide to make a super-sized health issue for 2015. Publication date will be Wednesday, March 25th with your free copy available in that day’s Southern Highland News. Don’t miss it. To place an advertisement in the new bumper booklet, please contact the News sales team on 4861 2333.

Coming Events

• February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Hold an “afternoon teal” in February to support Ovarian Cancer Australia. Their website is : https://ovariancancer.net.au/

• Teal Ribbon Day, fundraising for ovarian cancer programs, is on Feb. 25th
• Can Assist meeting, Thurs. March. 12th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• ‘Bounce Forward’ program, Sat.-Sun., March 21-22. Details above.

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


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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 http://shchospice.org.au


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 info@sh-cancerconnect.com.au


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Cancer Connections - April 2014

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Cancer Services Directory 2014 now available online

The 6th edition of the Southern Highlands Cancer Services Directory was recently published in the Southern Highland News. The text articles for this year’s issue were provided by the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee. Following a theme of “Support Groups and Services”, we have included all the information we have on what help is available locally for cancer patients and their families. Reception of the booklet has been most favourable. If you missed that issue, copies of the 24-page A5 booklet are still available from the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre within the private hospital. As well as that, a copy of all of the 2014 Directory has been placed on this website under the Directory tab above and available to download in pdf.


Committee loses Kate Partington

At our April meeting, the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee said our farewell to one of our longer serving members, Kate Partington. Currently the Nursing Unit Manager within the Wingecarribee Community Health Centre, Kate had to tell us that this would be her last meeting since she will be transferring out of the district. The committee thanked Kate warmly for her contribution to our work, particularly her advice, her knowledge of health services and personnel, and her ability to identify gaps in health services to patients. Kate’s new position will be as Community Aged Care Manager with the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District and we all wish her every success in her new role.

BowelCare Australia Program for 2014

We have been informed of the 2014 details for this valuable program, which is organised by Rotary. Participating pharmacies in the Southern Highlands will have the kits available from April 26th (if not earlier) through to May 24th. The completed kits must be returned to a participating pharmacy for pathology testing prior to June 7th. The $10 cost for each kit covers the testing and notification of results. From the 2013 BowelCare Program, 78 people were detected with bowel cancer or polyps and another 152 positive results are pending investigation. 
So, why not “Get checked”.

Relay For Life 2014

Relay for Life returns to the Southern Highlands on Saturday 3rd May at Eridge Park Oval and runs through to Sunday morning. Keep that date free and let’s work for an even bigger event than in 2012. The themes for Relay are “Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back !” and proceeds support the many worthwhile activities of Cancer Council NSW. To go to the website for Relay just click here This site will allow supporters to form a team to take part. You can join a team or, better still, start your own. Who will you relay for ?


Mother’s Day Classic

The inaugural Bowral Mother's Day Classic Walk for Breast Cancer will be held on Bong Bong Racecourse on Sunday, May 11th, starting at 9.30 a.m. Proceeds go towards the National Breast Cancer Foundation. The event offers a 3km walk for participation; it is not a timed race. For all details, registration closing dates and how to enter, go to  http://www.mothersdayclassic.com.au/


Coming Events

• BowelCare kits available at pharmacies, April 26th to May 24th
• Relay For Life, Eridge Park Oval, Sat. May 3rd through to Sun. morning
• Can Assist meeting, Thurs., May 8th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital.
• Mother’s Day Classic Walk for Breast Cancer, Bong Bong Racecourse, May 11, 9.30am
• International Nurses Day, May 12th (Florence Nightingale’s birthdate)
• National Volunteer Week, May 12th – 18th
• Biggest Morning Tea, week beginning May 19th

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


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Cancer Connections - October 2013

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Australia leads the world :
There have been a number of media items lately concerning cancer in Australia. An international comparison has found that Australia has the highest incidence of cancer in the world. This puts us ahead of New Zealand, North America and Western Europe in terms of cancer rates, and nearly double the global average. We have the highest rate of melanoma and prostate cancer in the world and the third-highest breast cancer rates.

The Cancer Council says one third of cancer deaths in Australia are caused by preventable risk factors. It identifies seven key steps to lower your cancer risk : limit alcohol intake, quit smoking, maintain a healthy weight, exercise, eat for health, be sunsmart and take advantage of cancer screening programs. Readers who wish to know more can find lots of information about all these steps on this website simply by clicking on the Prevention tab above.

Effects of tobacco :
ABC radio ran an interview with the Sax Institute's Professor Emily Banks, who conducts the large scale Australian study known as ‘45 and Up’. Releasing some of the results of the study, which looked at the health records of 200,000 Australians, Prof Banks said : “What we found was that the people who were current smokers had around three times the risk of dying during that period than people who had never smoked. And we also found that increased risk of death varied according to how much people smoked. And among the people who were light smokers, or who would consider themselves light smokers, smoking an average of around 10 cigarettes a day, they still had around double the risk of death compared to someone who had never smoked.”

This study has revealed that the risk of dying from light, casual smoking is much higher than previously thought. The study concluded that the deaths of two-thirds of smokers are linked to their smoking, much higher than the previous estimate of about one in two. You can read the full transcript of that interview on the ABC website. Click here. 





Now for the good news :
Australia also leads the world in cancer survival. This is partly due to the early detection of problems, our high standard of health care and the program of research and clinical studies which have found improved forms of treatment.

Southern Highlands Cancer Centre nominated
A little bird has (modestly) told me that the Cancer Centre within the Private Hospital has been nominated for a Southern Highlands Business Awards in the category of ‘Excellence in Health Care’. I do hope they win – they do a fantastic job for their patients at the Centre. You can learn more about our Cancer Centre via the easy-access Quicklink on the LHS of this screen.

Coming Events
• October is the month for Pink Ribbon action for breast cancer research. Pink Ribbon breakfasts, events and “Girls Night In” are being held on any date this month – watch out for notice of them.
• Oct. 13-19 is Carers Week, celebrating and supporting carers across Australia.
• Oct. 18 is National Bandanna Day, supporting young people against cancer.
• (October also happens to be Dogtober – appreciating our canine pets.)
• Can Assist meeting, Thurs, November 14th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital.
• Children’s Cancer Charity Dog Club’s Dog Show, Erskine Park, Nov. 15-16. (For more details, please see our blog for September.)
• November becomes Movember – the month of moustaches for men’s health.

Also : There will be a fundraising night at Highlands Tenpin, Mittagong, on Friday, 22nd November, 6-9pm. This is in aid of WHAM, the Wingecarribee Health Association for Men. Full details are in our "News and Events" section - just click on the tab above.

Future events - two to pencil in :
** On Saturday 22nd February, 2014, a High Tea will be held at Southern Highland Wines. Reserve the date ! This is the major fundraiser of the year for the local branch of Can Assist.
** On Saturday 3rd May, 2014, the district will come together at Eridge Park oval for ‘Relay For Life’. Keep that date free and let’s work for an even bigger event than we had in 2012.

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




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