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 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

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 - January 2016

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Breast Cancer Support Group reforms

The good news is that a support group for breast cancer patients and survivors in the Southern Highlands has been re-activated. The new group will be having its first meeting at the Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, on Wednesday, January 27th. This is due to the initiative of the volunteer facilitator, Lesley McPherson. For more information, ring Lesley on 0438 001177 or email to

There is also continuing support for men diagnosed with prostate cancer. This is available by contacting Tom Carroll, the organiser of the Prostate Support Group, on 0419 482208 or email to

Advance Notice of Can Assist Luncheon

The local branch of Can Assist will be holding a luncheon at Summerlees Estate, Illawarra Highway, Sutton Forest, 12 for 12.30pm, on Sunday, March 6th. Tickets for this event will be taken up quickly, so for all bookings and enquiries, please telephone Aurelia Grigore-Reid on 4861 3234 or 0418 466 739; or else email to

Cancer Services Directory 2016
The 8th edition of our Southern Highlands Cancer Sevices Directory will be published as a free booklet with an issue of the Southern Highland News in late March. For this year’s edition, the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee has chosen to base its articles around the issue of rare and less common cancers. In doing this, we are acknowledging and supporting the work of the organisation, Rare Cancers Australia, which was founded by its energetic Directors, Richard and Kate Vines, of Bowral.

Relay For Life 2016
As the co-ordinating committee gets everything together, it’s a good time to make note of some of the changes for this year’s Relay : new venue at Moss Vale Showground; new times from 12 noon Saturday to 12 noon on Sunday. The dates : April 2nd – 3rd.

Mount Kosciuszko Challenge

Rare Cancers Australia will be holding their climb to the top of Mount Kosciuszko on March 12 this year. This annual event to raise funds through supporters and sponsors has a target this year of 100 people taking part in the climb. Details are on the Rare Cancers website at

Tenpin Bowling for WHAM
The next fundraiser for the Wingecarribee Health Association for Men (WHAM) – the organisers of the November Men’s Health Forums - will be a Highlands Tenpin event at Mittagong on Friday, March 18. For bookings and all information, telephone 4871 1600.

Coming Events
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Wed. Jan. 27
• World Cancer Day will be on Thursday, February 4th
• Can Assist meeting, Thursday, February 11th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital

• February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Hold an afternoon tea in February to support Ovarian Cancer Australia. Their website is at

• Here’s another cause : organise an Iced Tea Party for lymphoedema research, mid-Feb. to end of March. See the website :

• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group meet at the private hospital, 10am on Feb. 23rd. RSVP Jo or Katie on 4862 9470
• Can Assist luncheon at Summerlees, 12 for 12.30pm, March 6. See above.
  Look Good Feel Better program, Cancer Centre, 10am-12.30pm, March 8
• Rare Cancers Australia hold Mount Kosciuszko Challenge, March 12
• Highlands Tenpin in aid of men’s health forums, Fri. March 18. Telephone 4871 1600
• Relay For Life 2016 on Sat.-Sun. April 2-3 at Moss Vale Showground

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


Cancer Connections - November 2013

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Martine makes the final cut

Here’s another story to inspire you : Martine Rolff, who is employed at the Robertson Village Pharmacy, plans to cut off her very long hair and donate it so that it can be used to create a wig for someone undergoing treatment for cancer. The big cut is happening at Robertson but please note that it will now take place on Saturday, November 30th. 

Meanwhile, to mark the event and recognise Martine's gesture, collection tins are available at a number of local businesses in Robertson with all the proceeds going to the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist. The event is being publicised through the mycause website. To find Martine’s webpage, click here . The page will allow for you to contribute online and help her to reach her $1000 target. Donations made to our district's Can Assist branch are used to financially support cancer patients in the Southern Highlands with pharmacy bills, equipment needs, petrol and accommodation subsidies.

For the fundraising result, see our News & Events column.

Wigs from Wollondilly

While on the topic of wigs, did you know how the extensive wig library held at the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre actually came about ? This wig resource was established jointly with funds from the Cancer Support Group from Wollondilly and from the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre Trust Fund. With the $6000 raised, the Wollondilly Support Group also made a cabinet to house the wigs and sample turbans and scarves. From time to time, cancer patients from the Wollondilly Shire receive treatment in the Southern Highlands and they have the backing of their active local support group. 

Meetings are held on the 1st Monday of each month at the Picton Bowling Club at 1.30pm. The Secretary can be contacted through their website :  click here  or by telephoning 46773285.

Cancer figures
Last month I referred to the high rates of cancer in Australia. This month it is worth looking at how this plays out here in the Wingecarribee LGA. Figures from the “Health Profile 2013” document reveal that this district has a higher incidence of cancer than the NSW average (522 per 100,000 population compared with 470 for the state as a whole). For the most common types of cancer – prostate, breast, and colon cancer, plus melanoma - Wingecarribee’s incidence rate was higher than the NSW average, whereas for lung cancer our figure was a little lower. These statistics, from the NSW Cancer Registry and the Cancer Institute NSW, cover the years 2004-2008 and are the latest available statewide. I shall report on the more recent situation when fresh data is finally published.

Relay for Life website now open
The website for the Southern Highlands Relay for Life 2014 event is operational at and this allows supporters to form a team to take part in Relay which will be happening on Eridge Park oval next May 3rd. 
Who will you relay for ?

Coming Events
• November is Movember to raise funds and awareness for prostate and testicular cancer and men’s mental health.
• Martine Rolff’s Good Hair Day occurs at Robertson, Saturday, November 30th.
• December 5th is International Volunteer Day. Have you considered volunteering ?
• Can Assist meeting, Thursday, December 12th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital.

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


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


Cancer Connections - September 2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Dog Show helps children with cancer

In the August column, I gave a mention to the local organisation Children’s Cancer Welfare Services and their great work in raising funds to help rural children with cancer. They have a major event coming up : the All Breeds Championship Dog Show will be held at Erskine Park on Friday & Saturday, November 15-16. Presented by the Children’s Cancer Charity Dog Club, the various classes for different breeds will appeal to many dog owners. For details and entries, contact Mr T. Couchman on (02) 4389 4877 or mobile 0428 119 391 or email Entries close on Oct. 18th and can be made online at

Information about the Prostate

The local Prostate Support Group has organised a meeting to provide information about the prostate gland. They’re calling it a "Dikileaks" session to be held on Tuesday, 24th September. This will feature Jacqui Bennet RN, the Continence Advisor from Wingecarribee Community Health, who will explain everything about this sensitive topic. The meeting will be in the Henrietta Rose Room, Bendooley Street, Bowral, near the Bowral Library, starting at 6.00 pm. All welcome. Full details are on our "News and Events" webpage.

Two Support Programs running locally
* Look Good…Feel Better : A free program to help women cope with the side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy by restoring patients’ appearance and self-confidence. October 22nd, 10am-12.30pm at the Southern Hospital Private Hospital. For further information click here. For bookings, contact  Jo Pearson 4862 9472 or email Joanne Meehan at  

* YWCA Encore is for women who have experienced mastectomy, lumpectomy or breast reconstruction surgery at any time in their lives. The gentle floor and hydrotherapy exercises are specifically designed to improve movement, flexibility and strength after surgery. The sessions also provide a time and a space for relaxation, information sharing and discussion amongst women who have been through a similar experience. A free 8-week program will be held at Mittagong on Wednesdays 1-3pm from 16th October to 4th December 2013. You can find more information online at For bookings, telephone (02) 9285 6264 or contact the program by email :

Do we know of your cancer service ?
If you provide a service for cancer patients and carers, or you host a cancer support group, and we don’t know about it, then it probably won’t appear in the 2014 issue of the Southern Highlands Cancer Services Directory. Our committee is currently planning next year’s issue which will focus on local cancer support groups and service providers. So, if you would like to be given a free listing for the very first time, or you are interested in advertising in the booklet and you haven’t done so before, please get in touch with me. Contact details are below.

Coming Events
• “Dikileaks” prostate information session, Henrietta Rose Room, 6pm, Sept. 24.
• Can Assist’s next meeting will be the Annual Branch Meeting, at 10am, Thursday, Oct. 10th, in the Lecture room at the old Bowral Hospital
• YWCA Encore program over 8 weeks at Mittagong on Wednesdays 1-3pm from Oct. 16th to Dec. 4th 2013. Telephone 02 9285 6264 or contact the program by email
• Look Good…Feel Better program : Oct 22nd, 10am-12.30pm at SHPH. For bookings, contact Jo Pearson at SHCC 4862 9472 or email Joanne Meehan
• Children’s Cancer Charity Dog Club’s Dog Show, Erskine Park, Nov. 15-16

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)
0407 234 780 or


Cancer Connections - June 2013

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Biggest Morning Tea events
There has been a great response from Southern Highlanders to the Biggest Morning Tea events held at various locations on different days throughout the month of May. These enjoyable community events have traditionally been a valuable way of raising funds for Cancer Council projects while at the same time providing a good excuse to simply get together with friends. Everyone involved deserves praise “because every cup counts”. Many thanks also to Southern Highland News for the excellent coverage, not only after the events, but especially for the comprehensive listing beforehand to publicise where and when they were going to happen.

Community Speaking Visit
On the day after the Southern Highlands Christian School had held their own Biggest Morning Tea, I had the opportunity to pay a visit to the school. It was May 31st – World No Tobacco Day – but I had been invited there to speak to students about how to protect their skin from the various forms of skin cancer. This meant I put on my other hat since I was speaking with students from Year 5 through to Year 12 as part of Cancer Council’s Community Speaking program. 

We looked at matters like UV radiation, the daily UV alert, and how to protect one’s skin with a SunSmart policy. They were a great audience, getting involved in the topics raised and coming up with a bunch of questions which showed that they were engaged in the issues. Other schools, workplaces or community groups who wish to have a presentation on any cancer issue can arrange this by telephoning the Wollongong office on 4223 0200.

Some of the students pictured with me after our meeting (L to R) : Liam Ryde, Adiel Mkolo, Shayla Carl and Nathan Barrett.

Southern Highlands statistics
How do we stand as far as the incidence of cancer in our own district ? Good question - one for which we do have some answers. Using figures supplied by the NSW Central Cancer Registry and the Cancer Institute of NSW, we can say that prostate cancer is the most common cancer in the Southern Highlands, with nearly 60 new cases each year. Melanoma and breast cancer each show approximately 36 new cases each year. The other most common forms are bowel/colorectal and lung cancer.

Have a soft drink ?
I read of one study involving 60,000 participants which found that, if you drank more than two soft drinks each week, your risk of developing pancreatic cancer increased by a surprising 87%. The US-Singapore research pointed to increased sugar consumption as the possible cause, since the same increase was not found with diet soft drinks. (The average can of soft drink contains 7-10 teaspoons of sugar.)

Coming Events
• June is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month
• Red Aussie Apple Day, June 19th – buy a $2 apple pin plus an apple
• “Call to Arms” AFL games during July – Clash for Cancer
• Can Assist meeting, Thurs, July 11th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)
0407 234 780 or


Cancer Connections - February 2013

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cancer Services Directory 2013
The issue of the Southern Highland News out on Wednesday February 27th will contain your copy of the Southern Highlands Cancer Services Directory for 2013. With articles this time specially focussing on men’s health, this 5th edition will, as always, list the services available locally to assist cancer patients and their families. The listings are updated each year so that the information is as accurate as we can make it. Thanks are due to Southern Highland News and all the Directory’s sponsors who have made the publication possible.

Jo Pearson wins “Nurse of the Year” Award
The Rotary Club of Bowral-Mittagong have named their “Nurse of the Year” and the award has gone to Jo Pearson, a foundation member of our Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee. This year the Rotary Club devoted their vocational award to the nursing profession and the names of many fine nurses were put forward. Jo Pearson, the Nursing Unit Manager at the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre, was nominated by our Committee and also by the Southern Highlands Private Hospital. At a ceremony on Tuesday, 19th February, Club president, Ray Williams, presented Jo with the perpetual trophy and an individual trophy for her to retain. The modest recipient was gracious in accepting this well-deserved award.

Patient Transport Service
One group of guys already well aware of health issues are those who turn out as volunteer drivers for the Patient Transport Service. The bus, provided by Cancer Council NSW, takes cancer patients from the Southern Highlands who require transport to the Macarthur Cancer Therapy Centre at Campbelltown for treatment or to see a doctor or specialist. Bookings are made either by telephoning the Cancer Council Southern Region office in Wollongong on 4223 0200 or by speaking with the staff at the Macarthur Centre. We should pay special recognition to all those drivers. It’s thanks to their readiness to give their time that this bus service has been so successful.

Prostate Support Group
The recently formed Southern Highlands Prostate Support Group held a most successful information evening on February 5th. More than 50 attended to learn more about prostate issues and were rewarded with two instructive presentations. Local physiotherapist Lucy Forbes stressed the importance of maintaining the strength of the pelvic floor muscle, while Dr. Nestor Lalak (a Bowral urologist) spoke knowledgeably about prostate problems, methods of treatment, and post-operative issues. Both speakers have strongly supported the formation of this group and were happy to answer numerous questions that were asked. For more information contact Tom Carroll on 0419482208 or email


     Pictured : Dr Nestor Lalak speaking at the information evening

“Live Well Now” Program
This valuable program of six sessions spread over two weeks provides the means to find peace while dealing with the stresses of living with an illness. Each 3½ hour session, conducted by Dr Louella Crawford, is held at the SH Private Hospital and the first commences on March 2nd. Cost is $240; bookings close February 25th. For more information or to book, contact Jo Pearson on 4862 9472.

Hospice Week events
Southern Highlands Community Hospice Committee has announced its schedule of events for Hospice Week 2013. While the "week" is officially February 25th to March 4th, the events have been spread a little wider than that to accommodate all the various activities planned. The current schedule is set out in the “News and Events” section of this website with details of the people to contact if you would like to attend any of the events or you can visit the hospice committee’s own website at

Coming Events
• Cancer Services Directory will be issued with SH News, Wed. Feb. 27th
• Teal Ribbon Day, Feb. 27th - Ovarian Cancer Australia
• SH Hospice Week is February 25th to March 4th. See details above.
• “Live Well Now” Program commences Sat. March 2nd. See above.
• Can Assist meeting, 10am Thurs, March 14th at the old Bowral Hospital
• Breast Cancer Support Group dinner, March 22nd. Visit

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)
0407 234 780 or


Cancer Connections - January 2013

Friday, January 18, 2013

Cancer Services Directory 2013
Your copy of the Southern Highlands Cancer Services Directory for 2013 will be available in the issue of the Southern Highland News on Wednesday, February 27th. In this 5th edition of the publication, we have kept our commitment to give a special focus to men’s health in the articles provided. In addition, the booklet will, as always, list the services available locally to assist cancer patients and their families. These listings are updated each year so that the information is as accurate as we can make it. Thanks are due to Southern Highland News and all the Directory’s sponsors who have made the publication possible.

Prostate Support Group – Official Launch
The formation of a Prostate Support Group for the Southern Highlands moves along at a great pace. The official launch has now been planned for Tuesday, February 5th with a meeting at 6pm in the Henrietta Rose Room near the Bowral Library. There will be two guest speakers for the evening : Dr. Nestor Lalak (Urologist) and Lucy Forbes (Physiotherapist). The invitation is open to all who are interested in seeing this group established in the district. For more information contact Tom Carroll on 0419482208 or email

New laws restrict smoking in outdoor areas
From January 7 this year new laws have come into force in New South Wales declaring some outdoor areas to be smoke-free. Areas where smoking is now prohibited include public swimming pools, sports grounds, bus stops, taxi ranks, train station platforms, and within 10 metres of children's playgrounds.

The State Government should be applauded for its action on this policy which has allowed us to somewhat catch up. Comprehensive statewide smoking bans have been successfully implemented in Western Australia, Queensland, the ACT and Northern Territory. Tasmania and South Australia are legislating with the same purpose. Unfortunately, outdoor dining areas in NSW will not be included until July 2015 because of the Government’s pre-election deal with Clubs NSW. 

It should be noted that these measures will have the positive effect of reducing the amount of secondhand smoke inhaled by non-smokers. While no-one will be prevented from smoking tobacco, it will mean that they cannot do so in outdoor situations where they could adversely affect the health of others. NSW Health reports that smoking causes around 5,200 deaths and 44,000 hospitalisations in this State per year.

Coming Events
• February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
• World Cancer Day supporting treatment and prevention of cancer :
“Together it is possible” - February 4th
• Prostate Support Group official launch, Henrietta Rose Room, 6pm, Feb. 5th
• Can Assist meeting, 10am Thursday, Feb. 14th at the old Bowral Hospital
• Hospice Week is February 25th to March 4th - Event schedule is now available :
   Please see our News and Events section.
• Cancer Services Directory 2013 to be published in SH News, Feb. 27th

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)
0407 234 780 or


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