Cancer Connections

Beating Cancer in the Highlands ... This column is brought to you regularly by the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee and is first published in the Lifestyle section of the Southern Highland News. It is designed to inform everybody of matters relating to cancer in our local community and the wider society. We aim to focus on local news, forthcoming events, services and other cancer issues.

Cancer Connections - October 2018

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Saving Life 2019
As the March 2019 NSW election looms closer, some campaign issues are already taking shape. While transport troubles appear to have transfixed many Sydneysiders, those of us living outside the capital can afford to focus on broader matters. On the health policy front, an important issue will be Cancer Council’s call for a future State Government – whichever party is elected - to act on “Saving Life 2019”. That campaign focuses on four areas : reducing junk food advertising; removing tobacco vending machines; introducing a tobacco retail licence fee; and improving funding for lymphoedema services.

In late September I met with Wollondilly MP Jai Rowell and his Electoral Secretary, Tracey Watkins, to raise these questions and present them with copies of the Saving Life booklet. During our discussion of all four asks, Mr Rowell was most supportive on the issues and readily signed the postcard which calls on the Premier to act. I was even more impressed with his willingness to take up those matters within the Liberal Party room. To see further detail on how Cancer Council wants to reduce the impact of cancer in our communities, visit their website at and search “Saving Life 2019”.

Relay for Life Southern Highlands 2018

Relay is a chance for the Southern Highlands community to recognise and celebrate local cancer survivors, patients and their carers, to honour and remember loved ones lost to cancer and to raise money to help save more lives. This year it will be on Moss Vale Showground Sat. October 20, commencing at 11 am. Funds raised at Relays go towards Cancer Council’s vital research, prevention, information and support services. To join up or donate, just Google "relay for life southern highlands 2018". Or you can contact the co-ordinator, Kelly Dinnerville, at or telephone (02) 42230242. You could join one of the existing teams or start one of your own with some friends or colleagues. Who will you relay for ?

Men’s Health Month

A forum on issues affecting men’s health will be held on each Monday in November, starting at 6pm sharp at St Jude’s Auditorium. The series, again organised by Tom Carroll, will commence on Mon. Nov. 5. Full program details are on this website - just click on the item under the "News & Events" tab.

Results from Can Assist film night
The movie night fundraiser for Can Assist produced a very good result for the local charity. With proceeds from ticket sales and accompanying raffle, it produced a net result of $3,600 which will all go towards supporting local cancer patients. We again received great assistance from New Empire Cinemas, FISH (Film in the Southern Highlands), and our other sponsors. Many thanks are due to the reliable band of Can Assist volunteers who helped to make the event run smoothly and the many supporters who attended on the night. Special thanks must go to Aurelia and John who made the whole thing possible.
Just in : Aurelia reports that Can Assist has been given a most generous donation from the Moss Vale Ladies Golf Day : $5,200. What a wonderful boost for patients! Many thanks.

Coming Events
• Pink Ribbon Day can be any day in October in support of women with breast or gynaecological cancer. With Halloween coming, Rare Cancers is running “scare4rare” activities. And October is also Dogtober, Ocsober, and Walktober.
• National Carer’s Week will be held Oct. 16 to 22.

• YWCA Encore program, Mittagong, Wednesdays, Oct. 17 to Dec. 5. Details are on this website; look for the sub-menu under the "Local Services" tab.

• Relay for Life Southern Highlands 2018, Moss Vale Showground, 11am Sat. Oct. 20 to 21.
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. Oct.. 23 RSVP Katie
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Oct. 24
• 26th Oct. is National Bandanna Day for CanTeen

• 26th Oct. is RCA Halloween Charity Ball in Sydney Town Hall. All details on RCA website at

• Men’s Health forum each Monday of November, starting Nov 5, 6pm at St Jude’s
• Can Assist Meeting at Mittagong RSL Club, 10am Nov. 13.
• A “Bouncing Forward Now” program will be held soon. Ring the Cancer Centre for details.

Grahame Hackett (Chair, Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee)
0407 234 780 or


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


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


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 - 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 - 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 - March 2013

Friday, March 29, 2013

BowelCare program

One method to have a regular screening to detect the possibility of bowel cancer has been the BowelCare program. This involves a simple process which can be done at home to carry out a faecal occult blood test (FOBT). In Australia about 4,400 people die from bowel cancer each year, yet, if detected early, this is one cancer which is curable in so many cases. So, "Get checked !"

Rotary Club of East Gosford which organises the distribution of BowelCare test kits has informed us that they are now resuming their program for 2013 with the same testing kit they have employed in the past. 

Latest information :
Southern Highlands pharmacies will have the kits available from May 4th (if not earlier) to June 1st and should be receiving their supplies in late April. The last day for returning the kit for pathology testing is June 15th.

Council makes outdoor dining areas smoke-free
After community consultation Wingecarribee Shire Council voted in February to extend its Smoke Free Outdoor Areas Policy. This change ensures that outdoor dining areas on Council-managed lands (for example footpaths, plazas) will become smoke-free later this year. Council adopted the proposal as recommended in the Council officers’ report and in the knowledge that NSW legislation will bring in a statewide ban on smoking in such dining areas from July 2015.

Outdoor dining areas will become smoke-free in Wingecarribee in two stages : From July 1, 2013, the policy will apply to all Council-managed businesses throughout the shire, excluding those in Corbett Plaza. From November 8, 2013, the policy will apply to all Council-managed businesses in Corbett Plaza so that uniform licence conditions can apply there at the same time. (For further background on this issue, click on the QuickLink for “Smoke-free Outdoor Areas Policy” on the LHS of screen.)

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 means 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 alone each year.

Cancer Services Directory 2013
This year’s edition of our Cancer Services Directory for the Southern Highlands was published last month in this newspaper. The feedback received for this issue containing numerous articles on men’s health has been most favourable. From several quarters we have had the question : “Can I still get hold of a copy ?” Newspaper staff report that surplus copies are very limited indeed. So if you did not pick up a copy on the day of issue, you may have to try your luck at the Southern Highland News office, the Cancer Centre within the Private Hospital or the Highlands Community Centre at Stafford Cottage, Bendooley Street, Bowral. Naturally, we ask those people who do have the booklet to support those firms who supported the project by taking out advertising space.

Coming Events
• World Health Day, April 7th 2013 Focus : “High blood pressure”
• Can Assist meeting, 10am Thurs, April 11th 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


Cancer Connections - June 2012

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Federal Government extends Bowel Cancer screening
The Federal Government has recently announced that it will provide new funding in the 2012-13 Budget to expand the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program. Considering that revenues are clearly down and causing a tighter Budget, it was good to see that this program received one of the few new funding initiatives.

There will now be an extra $50 million to extend the program to Australians turning 60 from next year, those turning 70 from 2015 and then progressively introducing two-yearly screening for all Australians aged 50 to 74 from 2017 onwards. This extension has the potential to save an estimated 300 to 500 lives each year and has been achieved partly as a result of the continued lobbying by cancer activists.

For further details on these reforms, visit the Federal Government website for the program at

Breast Cancer Support Group

A Breast Cancer Support Group has recently been formed in the Southern Highlands, meeting regularly on an informal basis as a friendly social get-together. To cater for everyone, the group meets in the daytime in some months and in the evening at other times. The ladies will next meet at midday on Wednesday, July 18th, at the Scottish Arms Bistro, Boardman Road, Bowral. Contact details for the group are available on this website click here.

NSW Government extends smoke-free areas

On 31 May - World No Tobacco Day - the NSW Government acted on its previously announced intention and introduced a Bill to legislate on smoke-free outdoor areas. 

The amendments proposed by the Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner, to the Smoke-free Environment Act will extend these areas to include : spectator areas of sports grounds or other recreational areas (while organised sporting events are being held); swimming pool complexes; and transport waiting areas such as railway platforms, bus stops, and taxi ranks.

The new amendments will also apply 10 metres around children’s play equipment and 4 metres around a pedestrian access point to a public building. Outdoor seated dining areas and food fairs, however, will not come under these provisions until 2015. The next stage in these important reforms will be to see that, when areas are actually defined, the wording does not create loopholes or exemptions which negate the intention of the Act. For the details of the Minister's statement  click here.

Men’s Health Expo held on June 16
Congratulations to Rob Uhl and her team from Highlands Community Centres for organising this event to promote awareness of men’s health initiatives. Despite poor weather, the day was certainly successful in letting community members know about the wide range of local organisations and services which contribute to healthy lifestyles for men of all ages. The Cancer Leadership Committee and this website, Cancer Connect, were represented at the Expo to show visitors the work we do and to distribute copies of our Cancer Services Directory 2012.

Coming Events
• Can Assist meeting, 10am Thursday, July 12th at the old Bowral Hospital

• Breast Cancer Support Group next meets at midday July 18th at Scottish Arms Bistro

• July is “Call To Arms” Month for sporting clubs helping fight cancer in men
• Stress Down Day is on Friday, July 27

Grahame Hackett (Chair, SHCLC)


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