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 www.cancercouncil.com.au 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 Kelly.Dinnerville@nswcc.org.au 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 http://www.rarecancers.org.au

• 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 info@sh-cancerconnect.com.au


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Cancer Connections - September 2018

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Relay for Life Southern Highlands 2018
We kick off this year on Moss Vale Showground at 11 am, Saturday October 20. 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. Funds raised at Relays right across the state go towards Cancer Council’s vital research, prevention, information and support services.

The website for our relay is open and operating. Just search for "relay for life southern highlands 2018" and it will come up. Or you can contact the co-ordinator, Kelly Dinnerville, at Kelly.Dinnerville@nswcc.org.au 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 ?


Daffodil Day 2018

Thanks are due to all those many people who stepped up to a stall on Daffodil Day to make a purchase or simply make a donation. Stalls were well-staffed and operating when I called in on August 24. 


Again there were two stalls set up in Bowral. The one inside Springetts Arcade remains a merchandise stall and it had a cosy spot in the air-conditioned arcade. Meanwhile, in the windy conditions that day, the stall outside the Coles store was far less comfortable but was again staffed by the reliable Lauren McDonald (pictured left). Her table concentrated on the new emphasis of an offering of fresh daffodils which were snapped up by generous donors.





Saving Life 2019
As indicated last month, Cancer Council’s “Saving Life 2019” campaign is getting underway to promote their policies before the next state election. The focus will be on three main areas involving junk food advertising; tobacco; and the funding of lymphoedema services. If you are offered a Saving Life 2019 postcard highlighting those policies, please write in the state electorate in which you live, sign it and return to the collector for presentation to your MP. Your support for the campaign can also be shown by going onto Cancer Council’s website.

Movie Night for Can Assist -- Last Chance !
Last reminder of the film night organised by the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist. “Johnny English Strikes Again” will be screened at New Empire Cinemas, Thurs. September 20. There will be light refreshments along with a glass of wine or soft drink to be enjoyed from 6pm before the movie commences at 6.30pm. Tickets $25 at the box office.

What is Blue September ?
Blue September is about raising awareness of all the cancers affecting men : not just prostate and testicular cancer, but also bowel, lung, liver, pancreatic and other cancers. In terms of fundraising, the month of September is an opportunity to support the Australian Cancer Research Foundation and Australian Prostate Cancer Research.

Coming Events
• Can Assist film night “Johnny English Strikes Again”, New Empire Cinemas, Thurs. Sept 20, 6pm for 6.30pm. Tickets $25 at box office.
• All September is Blue September (see above).
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. Sept. 25, RSVP Katie
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Sept. 26
• October will be : 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. For details on this website : click on the Local Services tab above.

• 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 - 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 - November 2016

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Advances in Palliative Care
Last month our committee was most fortunate to have a meeting with Janeane Harlum, the Area Palliative Care Manager for South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD) of which the Wingecarribee is a part. Janeane gave us an informative talk about the PEACH program. This stands for Palliative Extended Aged Care in the Home and the PEACH packages are designed to provide clinical care and support for people who wish to die at home or remain at home for as long as possible. To qualify, the patient needs to be assessed as eligible and to have a carer living with them.

The program is available for the last seven days of life and is delivered by the Silver Chain Nursing Service. Their nurses specialising in end-of-life-care make visits to the home to provide valuable help for the patient and carer through clinical, personal and psychosocial support. Janeane informed us that 83% of the packages were provided to patients with a cancer diagnosis. 70% of these patients die in their own home. So far, in the Wingecarribee 58 packages of care have been provided for 29 patients and 3 of these have been for children or young adults.

The Tackling Tobacco program
“Tackling Tobacco” is a step-by-step program that aims to reduce smoking-related harm amongst the most socio-economically disadvantaged groups in NSW. Through this new program, Cancer Council NSW works with community service organisations to address smoking problems and to give their clients the support they need to quit. The program is made up of six core elements that form an organisation-wide approach to addressing smoking. This approach promotes a shared responsibility of care and a positive culture, ensuring that smoking care becomes part of the usual care provided by the service. Cancer Council NSW have partnered with Highlands Community Centres Stafford Cottage and the program is already underway.

Peter Coupland Trust Fund
Readers of this column may remember that, in May last year, I reported on the sad and unexpected death of Peter Coupland. Peter was a Social Worker at the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre and a most valued member of our Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee. His sudden passing was a great loss and it brought home to all who worked with him what a special and inspiring person he was. Staff colleagues at the Southern Highlands Private Hospital have taken the initiative to organise an event in Peter’s memory. It will take the form of a viewing of two gardens along with a Devonshire tea at ‘Greyleaves’ Burradoo on December 3rd, 2-5pm. All proceeds are going to the Peter Coupland Fund. Organiser Naomi Bermingham tells me details are on a Facebook page ‘Peter Coupland Memorial Fund’.

Can Assist film success

There was another sell-out attendance for the Can Assist film evening at which supporters had the chance to see the new movie “The Light between Oceans”. Successful fundraisers like this are only possible through the work of Can Assist’s tireless volunteers and the generosity of those who make donations and those who attend – all are helping local cancer patients. And the result ? Can Assist's Secretary, Terry Hughes, reports a net result of $5,420 from the evening -- a credit to everyone involved.


Coming Events
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group meet at SH Private Hospital, 10.30am, Nov. 22. RSVP Jo or Katie on 4862 9470
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Nov. 23.

• Men’s Health Month forum, St Jude’s Auditorium, Nov. 24 at 6pm sharp. Full details can be found in our 'News and Events' section of this website.

• Look Good Feel Better program at SH Private Hospital, Nov. 29. For details and to register, visit their website at www.lgfb.org.au/workshop or telephone 1800 650 960.

• ‘Greyleaves’ Garden Devonshire tea in aid of Peter Coupland Memorial Fund, Dec. 3, 2-5pm (see above)
• Can Assist meeting, Thursday, Dec. 8th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital.

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


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Cancer Connections - September 2016

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Smoking rates in NSW are changing
Data from NSW Health shows that the younger generations are driving a dramatic drop in smoking rates while rusted-on older smokers are finding it harder to quit or have given up. Across the board, smoking rates have dropped another two percentage points from 15.6% to 13.5%. The population survey, which interviews roughly 13,000 people across the state every year, found that smoking rates have declined by 10% since 2003. But among 45-54 year-olds, smoking rates jumped more than two per cent. They hardly budged among people aged 65 and over, and rose slightly among those aged 75 and over. Anita Dessaix, Manager of Cancer Prevention at Cancer Institute NSW, commented that the message, particularly for older people, is not to despair but to keep trying. There is hope and support for them to quit smoking.













Please note : For lots of tips on where to turn for Quit Smoking support, take a look at our webpage under the Prevention tab above, or just click here

Parliamentary support
We were joined at the Daffodil Day stall in Springetts Arcade this August by Jai Rowell, MP for Wollondilly. Besides adding his backing for this annual fundraiser, Jai also signed the Cancer Council pledge “I care for palliative care”, as part of the current campaign. Following this, we discussed the issue of haematology services for local patients without private health cover and found that the local member undertook to take up the matter with senior Health personnel. Such political support is significant to our drive for better patient outcomes on both of those issues.

“Push for Palliative” Petition
Last week, Thursday September 15, saw further discussion in the NSW Parliament on the petition for more palliative care. Margaret Mogg, a member of our committee, and Virginia Adlide, local “Push for Palliative” Ambassador, were among the supporters from regional NSW supplementing those from Sydney. Over 80 people packed the public gallery to hear the third debate on the petition which has been signed by over 83,000 citizens. This requests staff increases in palliative care medical specialists, specialist nurses and Aboriginal health workers and was presented by the Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner, who described the current enhancement to palliative care services. Other speakers supporting the petition were Adam Crouch (Lib.) MP for Terrigal, Jenny Aitchson (Lab.) MP for Maitland, Trish Doyle (Lab.) MP for the Blue Mountains and David Harris (Lab.) MP for Wyong. Hearing the passion of the speakers we can only hope that the momentum for the campaign will continue and a positive outcome will be achieved.

And in case you missed it :
There were a number of fine speeches made by new members of Federal Parliament this month. These included first speeches by Linda Burney (MP for Barton), Senator Malarndirri McCarthy (NT), and the one by Julian Leeser (MP for Berowra) recounting the sad story of his father’s suicide.

Coming Events

• Southern Highlands Spring Auto Fair at Berrima Public School, Sunday, Sept. 25, 9am to 2pm. For more information, contact Darren Freer 0439110358 or Phil Walmsley 0438402797 or email: shspringautofair@gmail.com Funds to support the SH Cancer Centre Trust Fund.

• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group meet at SH Private Hospital, 10.30am, Sept. 27. RSVP Jo or Katie on 4862 9470

• Look Good Feel Better program at SH Private Hospital, Sept. 27. For details and to register, visit their website at www.lgfb.org.au/workshop or telephone 1800 650 960.

• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Sept. 28.
• Can Assist meeting, Thursday, Oct. 13th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• Pink Ribbon Day will be Friday, Oct. 21, supporting women with breast or gynaecological cancer.

• Rare Cancer Australia’s Sick or Treat Charity Ball, Fri. Oct. 28 : visit RCA website at https://www.rarecancers.org.au


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 - 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.

Rekindle

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 www.rekindleonline.org.au/


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 http://shchospice.org.au/

  • Can Assist meeting July  9, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital

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



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Cancer Connections - November 2014

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cancer Centre wins award

The Southern Highlands Cancer Centre has been recognised for its outstanding work in caring for cancer patients. At “A Night with the Stars” on October 31st, held at Mittagong RSL to present the Southern Highlands Business Awards for Excellence, the Centre, which is a part of the Private Hospital, took out the award in the category “Excellence in a Health Facility”. When the award was presented to Dr Stephen Della-Fiorentina, the oncologist at the Centre, he made particular mention of the achievements of the team as a whole and went on to pay tribute especially to the leadership of Jo Pearson, its Nursing Unit Manager. By way of demonstrating their strong teamwork, all of the Centre staff who were at the awards dinner went up on stage for the presentation.


Pictured above : The team from the Cancer Centre, with Dr Stephen Della-Fiorentina and Jo Pearson (centre) holding the award trophy.

Tobacco is readily available

It’s easier to buy tobacco than to obtain medications. Odd, isn’t it ? When you remember that medications are meant to aid our health but tobacco ends up killing one out of every two of its users. Tobacco outlets seem to be everywhere : supermarkets, newsagencies, petrol stations, convenience stores, you name it. Almost 10,000 of them in NSW; four times as many as there are pharmacies. The sale of medicines is tightly regulated; not so for cigarettes. There are no legal limits on where tobacco can be sold, who can sell it and when (aside from a ban on mobile sellers and market stalls). No licence is required and there’s no cap on the total number of outlets.

Cancer Council NSW has a vision for change by asking the State government to address the sale of tobacco, thereby supporting people who are trying to quit and encouraging young people to live smoke free. Perhaps a positive licensing scheme might be one way to improve the situation.

Men’s Health Month in November

The free information sessions on men’s health, presented by local medical specialists, continue for the rest of November. These events are being held at the Moss Vale Golf Club, from 6.00 sharp to 7.30pm on Thursday evenings. The speakers for the concluding sessions are : Dr Leicester (orthopaedic surgeon) Nov 20th; and Dr Wikramanyaka (bowel specialist) Nov 27th. All men and women are welcome. For further information, telephone the organiser, Tom Carroll, on 0419482208 or email carroll.tom@gmail.com

Community Service Award

I should also record here that I was one of the people nominated for an award in the category “Excellence in Community Service”. I saw that as really a recognition of what has been achieved by the whole of the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee. While I was not successful, my nomination itself is a most welcome recognition of the work we do as a volunteer body. The award, however, went, most deservedly, to the Clown Doctors for their work as part of the Humour Foundation. The choice of winners was fitting indeed in view of the death this year, from cancer, of Dr Peter Spitzer (aka Dr Fruit-Loop). Peter achieved so much for children, and for us all, by spreading his message that “Laughter is the best medicine”.

Coming Events

• Movember is to raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, with a specific focus on prostate cancer and depression in men.
• November is also Lung Health Awareness Month. How are your lungs ?
• International Volunteer Day is Dec. 5th. Think of how volunteers help us all.
• “Venice Carnivale” for Can Assist, Thurs. Nov. 20th at Bendooley Estate
• Men’s Health events each Thursday in November. Please see details above.
• Can Assist meeting, Thurs. Dec. 11th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital

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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