Cancer Connections

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

Cancer Connections - November 2017

Saturday, November 18, 2017

“Murder can help patients”
A capacity audience at New Empire Cinemas on Nov. 9th watched the new movie version of "Murder on the Orient Express", directed by Kenneth Branagh. The event was a most successful fundraiser for the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist and all attending were treated to a quality adaptation of the familiar classic. This version was helped greatly by a fantastic cast of murderers. (Among so many fine performances, I was particularly impressed by Michelle Pfeiffer’s and would not be surprised if she gets an Academy nomination for best supporting actress). The venture received marvellous support from the Cinema’s owners, from Films in the Southern Highlands (FISH), along with the generous donors of prizes and of course all those folk who attended. Secretary Terry Hughes has announced that over $6,000 was raised on the night. WOW ! This great result would not have been possible without the smooth organisation by Aurelia Grigore-Reid and her army of volunteers from Can Assist who do so much for cancer patients in our district.


Portacatheter insertion issue

Readers of this column would know that our committee has been pushing for a local solution to the problem of public patients having to travel all the way to Concord Hospital for the insertion of a portacatheter. At the recent Annual Public Meeting of the South Western Sydney Local Health District, I took up the matter with the LHD Chief Executive, Amanda Larkin. After expressing her surprise and disappointment that cancer patients were having to make that out-of-area journey, the CE promptly undertook to further investigate this matter. The full facts have now been conveyed to Ms Larkin, along with the details on what progress we have currently made in pressing the issue.  

I shall report on whether an acceptable solution is arrived at.



Killing liver cancer cells
Cancer Council Research reports : Australia has witnessed a significant rise in liver cancer rates in recent years, and this trend is expected to continue over the next few decades. Sadly, the chance of a person with liver cancer surviving for 5 years or more is just 16%, and this is largely because the cancer is able to resist current therapies. Professor Christopher Liddle from the University of Sydney has found that there is a group of cells in liver tumours called cancer stem cells. These cells initiate cancer growth and contribute to the spread of the tumour. Current therapies are not able to target these cells, explaining why liver cancers are so unresponsive to treatment. Christopher and his team have developed two agents that can seek out and bind to the liver cancer stem cells and kill them. The researchers are now testing the effectiveness of these agents in the lab to see just how powerful their anti-cancer capability is. Once the team proves the agents are successful, this will lay the foundation for clinical trials.

Reminders of events :
• The series of Men’s Health seminars proceeds this November, organised by Tom Carroll and WHAM. These information sessions are held at 6pm sharp every Tuesday in St Jude’s Auditorium, Bowral. For the full program, visit the ‘News & Events’ section of this website or call Tom on 0419482208.
• Cancer Council continues its series of webinars. (These are online seminars which you can watch on your computer or mobile device on the night or later at your convenience.) The next topic is “Men’s Psycho-social needs : What support do men need after cancer ?” on Nov. 30. Visit the Cancer Council website www.cancercouncil.com.au for full details.

Coming Events
• Men’s Health Forum continues this November, every Tuesday; see item above.
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Nov 22.
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. Nov. 28 RSVP Katie
• Can Assist Meeting at BDCU, Bowral, 10am December 12

Grahame Hackett (Chair, Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee)
0407 234 780 or info@sh-cancerconnect.com.au



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Cancer Connections - September 2017

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Portacath insertion issue
Our committee has been seeking an improvement in the provision of Portacath devices to uninsured patients so they will no longer have to travel to Concord Hospital for the insertion. We had asked for the brief operation to be performed at Bowral & District Hospital and were advised back in July that the issue was currently under discussion. No definite answer has been received yet, but one possible option is that, if Campbelltown Hospital were to be approved for vascular surgery, then public patients from the Southern Highlands might be able to have the device inserted there. Still a journey, but certainly a shorter one than to Concord and back. More information when it comes to hand.






Pictured at Springetts Arcade (L to R)  : Deb Wrigley, Christine Graham, Jonathon & Miranda Hassett


Daffodil Day well supported
Once again this August the volunteers of the Wingecarribee turned out on Daffodil Day to help collect funds for Cancer Council NSW. There were stalls set up at Mittagong’s Highlands Marketplace and at Springetts Arcade and Coles Supermarket in Bowral, offering a range of merchandise from beautiful bunches of fresh daffodils, to the badges, pens, keyrings and toy bears which carry the brand. At the Springetts stall, I met Team Leader Christine Graham, assisted by Deb Wrigley and Miranda & Jonathon Hassett. Christine had commenced her role last year when she took over from the well-known John Sider. Over at Coles, Lauren McDonald was fully in charge of the table for her 11th year ! Through the generous support of Southern Highlands residents, the contributions raised will go towards the many avenues by which Cancer Council assists those with a cancer diagnosis. The latest form of that help to our own locals is the new car purchased for the sole use by GAPS volunteers to transport Wingecarribee cancer patients.


Pictured at Coles Supermarket : Lauren McDonald



















10 years and going strong

Members of the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee were a little surprised when I pointed out recently that we had just passed the 10-year milestone for the volunteer group. Back in 2007 a small band of like-minded people came together to see what could be done to improve services for local cancer patients. A great boost came when Cancer Council NSW used some of the funds from Relay for Life to provide a bus to take patients to Campbelltown and back for their treatment. The bus still runs today, five days a week, manned by volunteer drivers. Since then, the committee has gone on to provide the material for the annual Cancer Services Directory, now in its 9th year, and for this regular monthly column, both supported by Southern Highland News. These two initiatives are to inform people about patient services available in our district : for transport, accommodation, legal and financial help, along with programs to assist after cancer surgery. That led naturally to the committee starting its own website to put all the information online. Which brought about this website : Southern Highlands Cancer Connect, now in its 7th year of operation.


During those 10 years, our committee has called for improved services in palliative care, haematology, and portacatheter insertion, and supported the limits placed on smoking tobacco in public places. We have helped in the formation and operation of the GAPS service. Currently we channel donations through to local cancer charities, promote various fundraisers, and work closely with local Can Assist and numerous cancer support groups. These are achievements of which we can be modestly proud and I thank all committee members, past and present.

Coming Events
• Bright Pink Lipstick Day for awareness of hereditary breast & ovarian cancer, Sept 22
• Blue September is raising awareness of cancers affecting men.
• Can Assist event : A “Secret Garden Party” in Bowral, 3-6pm, Sunday Sept 24
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. Sept. 26 RSVP Katie
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Sept. Sept. 27
• October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
• “Light the Night” for Leukaemia Foundation, Bradman Oval, 5.30-8.30pm Oct. 6
• Can Assist Meeting 10am October 10th at BDCU, Bowral
* YWCA Encore program will be conducted from Oct. 11th to Nov. 29th. Contact Susie 0419 221 433. 
      For details of the program, see the webpage under the "Local Services" tab above.
• National Bandanna Day for CanTeen, Oct 27
• RCA function Sick or Treat Charity Ball, Sydney, Oct. 27.
* Great movie night : "Murder on the Orient Express" - a fundraiser for Can Assist at the New Empire Cinemas, 6 for 5.30pm on Nov. 9th. See all the details in our 'News & Events' column

Grahame Hackett (Chair, Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee)
0407 234 780 or info@sh-cancerconnect.com.au




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Cancer Connections - August 2017

Thursday, August 17, 2017

“The Thing About Cancer”

A new series of podcasts has been launched by Cancer Council NSW and designed for people affected by cancer, including carers, families and friends of those living with cancer. Rather than explain about all the various kinds of cancer – which are already fully covered in their well-established “Understanding” series of booklets – the podcasts focus on 10 key areas for people affected by a cancer diagnosis. Topics include : How to help someone with cancer; Managing cancer fatigue; Appetite loss and nausea; and Explaining cancer to kids. Hosted by radio broadcaster and cancer survivor, Julie McCrossin, the ten informative podcasts can be heard online from the web at https://www.cancercouncil.com.au/podcasts/ or they can be downloaded from iTunes to your computer, tablet or smartphone and listened to at anytime.


Daffodil Day is Friday, August 25th
Volunteers will be out again this Daffodil Day to show that the work of organisations like the Cancer Council gives HOPE to so many. Hope that the causes of this disease will be better understood; hope that improved methods of treatment will result from all the research being undertaken; and hope that flows from knowing how much support there is out there in the community. Purchase a daffodil, a badge, a pen, or other merchandise on the day, or simply make a donation, and you are giving hope to cancer patients across NSW. And if you can spare the time to help out by volunteering to collect on that Friday, please contact Cancer Council on 4223 0200. Every daffodil and every donation grows hope.







Word of a “Secret Garden Party”
The hard-working volunteers at Can Assist Southern Highlands are currently spreading the word about what they have called a Secret Garden Party coming up on Sunday September 24th from 3 to 6 pm. Working on the kind offer of a local resident to make a private garden available, they have put together an inviting event for the spring season. (It’s not really a secret : once you purchase a ticket, the address for the location of the garden will be shown on the ticket.) The entry price of $55 will cover all food, drinks, entertainment, and the tour of the garden. It is important to emphasise that all funds raised from this event will go to the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist. For tickets and further information you can contact Margaret on 4861 2347 or Merrillyn 0403 620 777.

“Light the Night” event
On October 6th from 5.30-8.30pm this Leukaemia Foundation event will be held at Bradman Oval, Bowral. 
Today another 35 people will be told they have blood cancer. Be the light in their darkest hour at this inspiring twilight event.
Now in its tenth year, Light the Night is a unique fundraising event bringing Australia’s blood cancer community together in more than 140 locations to remember and reflect during a moving ceremony and short lantern walk. Those attending raise money beforehand to help give local families facing blood cancer the emotional and practical support that will light the way forward. Light the Night fundraisers all receive a coloured lantern to carry as darkness falls and celebrate what they’ve achieved to help people with blood cancer. Last year, more than 35,000 people from every Australian state and territory attended a Light the Night.

To register or find out more, go to www.lightthenight.org.au or ring 1800 500 088.


Facts do help
With the sudden news of a cancer diagnosis, we don’t always know where we stand. For some people, it soon creates real financial hardship, especially where one cannot continue in paid employment. For others, it may even raise legal or workplace issues : for instance “What exactly are my rights in this situation ?” To provide sound guidance for cancer patients facing questions like these, Cancer Council NSW has a number of booklets and fact sheets available. They cover relevant topics like your finances and your rights, dealing with debts, superannuation, and work-related cancers. You can download any of more than a dozen of these from the website at www.cancercouncil.com.au and just do a search for “Legal and financial issues fact sheets”.

Coming Events

• RCA event : “Passion on the Field” at Randwick Racecourse, Aug 19
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. Aug 22 RSVP Katie
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Wed. Aug 23
• Daffodil Day, Friday August 25
• Blue September is to raise awareness of all cancers affecting men
• Can Assist Meeting, 10am Sept 12 at BDCU, Bowral.
* R U OK Day will be on Thursday, Sept 14
• Can Assist event : A “Secret Garden Party” in Bowral, 3-6pm, Sunday Sept 24
• “Light the Night” for Leukaemia Foundation, Bradman Oval, 5.30-8.30pm Oct. 6.
• RCA function : Sick or Treat Charity Ball, Sydney, Oct. 27. Visit RCA website.

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


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Cancer Connections - June 2017

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

“Connecting the Future” seminar success

This event was organised for Palliative Care Week by the Southern Highlands Community Hospice committee. Speakers included Dr Yvonne McMaster OAM, the retired palliative care specialist who initiated the “Push for Palliative” campaign, and Jane Mahony, a local senior nurse consultant in the field. An audience numbering about 80 heard informative presentations from both and later gained an insight into current planning for the hospice building to be constructed in Bowral. The draft drawings for the building were on display and stimulated much discussion.

Visit of the Premier to Bowral
June 6 saw the visit by Premier Gladys Berejiklian to the Southern Highlands. A public meeting of 200 locals was hosted by Wollondilly MP Jai Rowell at the Bradman Museum and provided an opportunity for the Premier to speak personally about how she saw her role and to tell us how much she admired all the community work going on in our district.
As I had hoped, I did have an opportunity, after the formal items were over, to speak with the Premier as she mingled. Naturally I wanted to raise the issue of greater resources for palliative care and briefly touched on the main points why this was badly needed. The Premier clearly understands the reasons anyway and nodded as I spoke before she promptly replied : “Grahame, watch this space”.

Announcement on palliative care
Our Cancer Leadership Committee members certainly did “watch this space” and were soon able to see that Gladys had kept her word. On Monday June 12 the NSW Government announced that a record $100 million would be spent over the next four years to increase palliative care services. Out of the numerous benefits which will flow from this extra funding I will just select one : this will mean a much needed improvement in the provision of palliative care throughout regional and rural NSW, areas which have been substantially less well serviced so far. So there is some cause for a sense of achievement among all those who supported this issue : volunteers for Cancer Council NSW; those who “signed the pledge”; those who backed Dr McMaster’s campaign; and ultimately those State MPs from all parties who saw there must be a better way to care for people with a life-limiting illness.
For the latest details on what the Government has announced, please go to our 'News & Events' tab above for the item "Premier's visit to Bowral".



New Car for GAPS drivers !
Here’s a big boost to our free GAPS service to cancer patients – the one which sees those dedicated volunteers driving cancer patients to consultations and treatment and using their own cars to do it. Cancer Council NSW have come good on their promise to provide GAPS drivers with a brand new car. From now on, the “first cab off the rank” you will see transporting a patient – and sometimes the trips are to Liverpool or Concord and back – will be the Toyota RAV4 with its Cancer Council logo. Here is another way in which our community benefits directly from raising funds at events like “Relay for Life” and the hugely successful “Dance for Cancer”.



PAWS Pet Therapy celebration

A dinner will be held by the PAWS Pet Therapy enthusiasts on Saturday July 22 at Centennial Vineyards. Details are on this website under the News & Events tab. This is an innovative organisation of dog owners who take their beautiful pets into hospitals and nursing homes to bring cheer to so many. They can always accommodate more pet lovers so if you and your dog can volunteer, ring Sharon Stewart on 4681 0499.


Coming Events
• June is Bowel Cancer Awareness month
• July is Dry July

• Can Assist meeting Tuesday, July 11, 10am at BDCU, Bowral

• PAWS Pet Therapy function, Centennial Vineyards, July 22, 5-10pm. Details above.
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. July 25 RSVP Katie on 4862 9400
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Wed. July 26

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


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Cancer Connections - January 2017

Monday, January 23, 2017

Southern Highlands Cancer Centre Trust Fund

The Trust Fund has recently made two substantial donations, both of which will greatly assist patients, their carers and families. $15,000 has been allocated for respite for carers, to be used by the Community Palliative Care team, and $5,000 goes to the Peter Coupland Fund, which is administered by the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist. Anyone wishing to make a donation to the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre Trust Fund can find all the information they need under the ‘Local Services’ tab of this website.


Breast Cancer Clinical Trial
Associate Professor Stephen Della-Fiorentina, a foundation member of our committee, has announced that a new breast cancer clinical trial has commenced. The Southern Highlands Cancer Centre has started the trial for women with early stage 2 breast cancer that is hormone sensitive. The PALLAS study is available for women who have started antihormone treatment within the past 6 months. It is run by the ANZ Breast Cancer Trials Group and investigates a new drug, Palbociclib, and whether it is of added benefit to standard antihormone medications. If you are interested in participating, please contact the Cancer Centre on 48629470.

Cancer Services Directory 2017
In late March Southern Highland News will make available the 9th edition of our annual Southern Highlands Cancer Services Directory. The theme for this year’s booklet will be aspects of palliative care. This is certainly a topical issue here in the Southern Highlands as it is across NSW so it is timely that we inform readers about the role of palliative care for cancer patients. If you provide a service for cancer patients or carers and you would like to be given a free Directory listing for the very first time, please get in touch with me. Contact details below.

Healthy Lifestyle Program

Coming this year : a free program from Cancer Council NSW for cancer survivors, carers, partners and family. The face-to-face group sessions will be facilitated by a dietitian and exercise physiologist and involve 2 hours per week for 8 weeks. 

The Enriching Survivorship Program is made up of the following components:
  * Six sessions focus on exercise and nutrition to improve cancer health (ENRICH). These sessions are facilitated by an exercise physiologist/physiotherapist and a dietitian.
  * A yoga and mindfulness session introduces relaxation breathing techniques to help reduce stress and anxiety.
  * A peer support session provides practical information, discussion and ideas about how to adjust to the changes following cancer treatment.

A course will be held at Narellan in the Macarthur region on Saturdays, commencing on Feb. 11th, from 10am-12 noon.  

For full details and the schedule of where all sessions will be held, visit the Cancer Council NSW website at https://www.cancercouncil.com.au/enrich/  Reservations are essential; telephone 1300 360 541 or email enrich@nswcc.org.au


Committee Changes
Some recent changes have occurred to the membership of our committee. After many years as our Minute Secretary, Narelle McKinnon has stepped down from the position but will remain a committee member and our minutes will now be taken by Margaret Mogg. Therese Harris has resigned from the committee after a long membership and, at our January meeting, we welcomed Bhish Rowjee, pharmacist from the Amcal Pharmacy in Springetts Arcade.

Coming Events
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. Feb. 28. RSVP Jo or Katie.
• Feb. is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month; Teal Ribbon Day will be on Feb. 24
• Can Assist meeting Feb. 9th, 10am, old Bowral Hospital
* Feel the March Charge. Walk or run, solo or team, for Cancer Council this March. See www.themarchcharge.com.au
• Mount Kosciuszko Challenge, March 18. A fundraiser by Rare Cancers Australia, this involves a climb from Thredbo to the summit. To register, visit www.rarecancers.org.au
• “Bounce Forward” program will be held at SH Private Hospital, March 25-26. For information or a booking, contact Jo Pearson, Nursing Unit Manager, Cancer Centre 4862 9472.

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


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Cancer Connections - August 2016

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Haematology hardship

If you are a reader of this column, you will be aware that we have a lack of haematology services in the Southern Highlands. (If you missed the story, go to the Cancer Connections tab above and scroll down to our July column. Further detailed information is available on the LHS of the screen by clicking on the Local Issues link to "Haematology services".) 


An uninsured patient can have a consultation at Bowral and District Hospital with a haematologist who comes from Liverpool. But for their treatment, the uninsured patient must still travel to Liverpool every time. The result, unfortunately, is that uninsured patients with a haematology diagnosis, such as leukaemia, myeloma, or other blood cancers, must make costly, time-consuming and stressful journeys to Liverpool on a regular basis. It is often family members or carers who must share this burden. And if no-one is able to get the patient to their treatment, it is often our volunteer drivers from the GAPS program who have to take them there and back.


Transporting Cancer Patients

Not aware of GAPS ? Our General and Practical Support service provides fully-trained volunteers who transport patients to and from medical appointments and treatment. Sometimes it means going all the way to Liverpool Hospital and return. Sometimes it involves transport to and from a pickup location for the Patient Transport Service. This is the bus (volunteer drivers again) that takes cancer patients to the Cancer Therapy Centre at Campbelltown. Neither service would be possible without the backing of Cancer Council NSW which provides the bus, petrol, etc and which funds the GAPS drivers’ journeys. For all the details on this transport assistance, go to the Quick Links on the LHS of screen and click on SH Patient Transport or General and Practical Support (GAPS). 






Daffodil Day
A reminder that I mentioned last month the date for Daffodil Day this year : Friday, August 26. Cancer Council always has a number of outlets in the Highlands, based on the major shopping centres. In addition, the Coles organisation has long been a strong supporter and their outlets often have Daffodil Day merchandise available in the week of the event. Every little bit helps, so why not stop by where you see the sign of the daffodil, the symbol for hope. I have invited the State MP for Wollondilly, Jai Rowell, to call in at the stall in Springetts Arcade on that morning. He has readily agreed and will be there sometime around 11am. Call by to show your support for improvements in cancer care.

New committee members

Our Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee was delighted to gain two new members in recent months. Carolyn Le Compte, the Nursing Unit Manager at Wingecarribee Community Nursing here in Bowral, has now joined our popular Mira Glavan, the Clinical Nurse Consultant in Palliative Care. I can also now proudly report that the busy editor of Southern Highland News, Jackie Meyers, has somehow found the time to join us at our monthly meetings. We are most pleased to welcome both as valuable new members.

“Push for Palliative”
This is a good time to mention the widespead efforts to improve palliative services. In a nutshell, there are just not enough palliative care doctors and nurses in the NSW health system. So it’s not possible to give every patient with life-limiting cancer who needs specialist palliative care the access to it, when they need it, wherever they live. That means that some people aren’t able to spend their dying days, weeks, or months, comfortable and pain-free, in a place of their choosing. And it means that some people aren’t treated with the dignity that everyone deserves at end of life. There is a current campaign – “Push for Palliative” spearheaded by Dr Yvonne McMaster and Cancer Council NSW – for more palliative care doctors and nurses and culturally-appropriate specialist palliative care services for Aboriginal people. More details to follow.

Coming Events
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group meet at private hospital, 10am, August 23. RSVP Jo or Katie on 4862 9470
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, August 24.
• Daffodil Day is Friday, August 26. Stall in Springetts Arcade.
• Can Assist meeting, Thursday, Sept. 8th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• Advance Notice : the Southern Highlands Spring Auto Fair is coming to Berrima Public School again on Sunday, Sept. 25, 9am to 2pm. For more information, contact Darren Freer 0439110358 or Phil Walmsley 0438402797 or email: shspringautofair@gmail.com

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


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Cancer Connections - April 2016

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Missed the Cancer Services Directory 2016 ?

Never mind. A copy of our Southern Highlands Cancer Services Directory for 2016 can still be picked up from the Cancer Centre within the Southern Highlands Private Hospital. On top of which, if you happen to prefer to read a copy of the booklet online, we can accommodate that as well. The Directory is now easily available and can be accessed by just clicking on the tab Directory above. You will find that Southern Highland News have now made it an interactive digital magazine. It has a number of hyperlinks throughout which will give you instant opening of webpages or email windows. It reads so clearly on a full screen and you can still zoom in even further.


“What did your doctor say ?”
The charity organisation Rare Cancers Australia has developed an innovative app to help cancer patients through their medical consultations. Richard Vines recently outlined to our committee how it all works. The CAN.recall app uses the latest technology to improve the early patient experiences of those diagnosed with cancer. It provides a structured process for asking questions of the clinician (with a set of relevant questions already provided) and for recording the answers during a consultation. This can later be revisited and also replayed for family. CAN.recall is available now for smart phones and tablets on iPhone and Android platforms as a free download. Details are on the Rare Cancers website at www.rarecancers.org.au

Haematology services for the Highlands ?
Further to the item last month which notified of a setback in our efforts to have haematology services provided to uninsured patients here in the Southern Highlands : Readers may not be aware of the fact that self insured haematology patients are able to receive their treatment here at the private hospital while uninsured patients must travel to Liverpool for the same treatment. The planned arrangements for all to be treated locally does not now fit in with the public hospital’s current priorities. Our committee believes that those patients would be far better off if served closer to home, wherever possible. We know that the issue is a far more important one than currently assessed in the public hospital’s priorities and we will continue to press for this much-needed improvement in cancer services.



Relay For Life 2016
With a new venue at Moss Vale Showground and different times for start/finish, the Southern Highlands Relay this year was again a most successful event. The weather was good and the spirit among participants was great. This year’s efforts raised nearly $160,000 and thanks must go to the hardworking committee members who did all the organising and to all those people who attended or who donated. The amount raised will help towards meeting the cost of the great many services provided by Cancer Council NSW.



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

Coming Events
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group meet at private hospital, 10am, April 26. RSVP Jo or Katie on 4862 9470
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Wed. April 27

• Look Good Feel Better program, SH Cancer Centre, Tues. May 10th. For information, select the LGFB tab under the "Local Services" menu above.

Can Assist meeting, Thursday, May 12th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital

• Biggest Morning Teas can be held anytime throughout May or June. There will be one held at the Private Hospital on May 26th.


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




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Cancer Connections - March 2016

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Can Assist Success
Sunday luncheon at Summerlees, organised by the local branch of Can Assist, proved to be as enjoyable an occasion as we all wished it to be. With a beautiful venue as the setting, provided free of charge by the owner, and a meal lovingly prepared by a professional caterer, similarly free of charge, we were set for a pleasant afternoon spent in a good cause. Guest speaker, Dr Joon Kim, gave a most interesting talk to show how he, as a surgeon, approaches the patient relationship and what he personally brings to that partnership. A further highlight was the drawing of the raffle whose first prize was an artwork, donated by Desmond Freeman, showing St Mark’s Basilica in Venice. Branch President, Jann Wadsworth, thanked all supporters who had donated or freely given their time to ensure that it was such a financial success. The function is the only major fundraiser they will hold this year.

Pictured above : Guest Speaker, Dr Joon Kim addressing the Can Assist luncheon.

Pictured below : Some of the many supporters of Can Assist who enjoyed the pleasant surroundings of Summerlees.

(All photographs courtesy of AJ Moran Photography)








Haematology services not good enough
We have just received word that the long-awaited arrangements for public (uninsured) haematology patients to be treated at the Cancer Centre within the Southern Highlands Private Hospital will not go ahead. This is enormously disappointing since the medical staff concerned and the private hospital were keen to finalise the details so that public patients could be treated here in the highlands, just as private patients already are. Instead, they will have to continue travelling to Liverpool for treatment. We understand that the public hospital has other priorities but our committee will continue to press for this much-needed improvement in cancer services and you will hear a lot more about this matter.

Cancer Services Directory 2016
Readers of this column are reminded that our Southern Highlands Cancer Services Directory will be published as a free booklet in the Southern Highland News on Wednesday, March 23rd. For this year’s edition, the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee has chosen as its theme the issue of rare and less common cancers. In addition to articles explaining the position of people diagnosed with a rare cancer there is an article provided by Richard Vines, a Director of Rare Cancers Australia. The booklet will, as usual, contain information about all local cancer services as well as an up-to-date comprehensive directory of related listings.

Relay For Life 2016

Have you registered for this year’s Relay For Life ? Or have you formed your own team ? Relay approaches soon, kicking off at the Moss Vale Showground from 12 noon Saturday April 2nd to 12 

noon Sunday, April 3rd. If you cannot attend, for whatever reason, you can still support the event by making a donation towards the fundraising target of a friend or family member. This event, which comes to the Highlands every second year, provides substantial financial support for Cancer Council’s wide range of services. To register for Relay, or just to make a donation, visit the website at http://fundraising.cancer.org.au


New committee members

Following up on the closer association between our committee and Rare Cancers Australia, at our March meeting we welcomed Richard Vines as a new member. In giving us some further information about the work of his charity organisation, Richard went on to outline an innovative app - CAN.recall - which they have developed. More details on that next month. At the same meeting, we also made welcome the Nursing Unit Manager at Wingecarribee Community Health, Carolyn Le Compte. It will be of enormous benefit to our group to have Carolyn as a member since her position gives her a unique insight into which particular services a cancer patient is entitled to.

Coming Events
• Highlands Tenpin for men’s health forums, Fri. March 18. Telephone 0418223696
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group meet at private hospital, 10am, March 22. RSVP Jo or Katie on 4862 9470
• Cancer Services Directory published in Southern Highland News, Wed. March 23
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Wed. March 23
• Can Assist meeting, Thursday, April 14th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• Relay For Life 2016 on Sat.-Sun. April 2-3 at Moss Vale Showground

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






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Cancer Connections - February 2016

Monday, February 22, 2016

Cancer Services Directory 2016
The 8th edition of our Southern Highlands Cancer Sevices Directory will be published as a free booklet in the Southern Highland News on Wednesday, March 23rd. As we did last year, the booklet will be combined with the Southern Highlands Health Guide to make a comprehensive health issue. For this year’s edition of our Directory, 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 the work of the organisation, Rare Cancers Australia, which was founded by its energetic Directors, Richard and Kate Vines, of Bowral. Make sure to get your copy. To place an advertisement in the bumper booklet, please contact the News sales team on 4861 2333.

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, Can Assist’s major fundraiser for the year, are nearly sold out already, but to get the last ones, please telephone Aurelia Grigore-Reid on 4861 3234 or 0418 466 739.


Donation of superb new machine
We have just learned that, through an extremely kind but anonymous donor, the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre has been given a DigniCap machine. This machine’s function is to cool the scalp of a patient while they receive chemotherapy. This is a proven approach to reducing the hair loss often associated with chemo treatment : by cooling the scalp, the DigniCap reduces the blood flow to that area so that less chemotherapy reaches the hair cells. Many thanks are due to our anonymous donor for such a generous gesture.



Supporting Rare Cancers Australia

At February's meeting of the Cancer Leadership Committee, Kate Vines from RCA gave an outline of the aims and activities of Rare Cancers Australia and noted some of their recent successes. Although only formed in 2012, RCA has already had a significant impact in raising awareness of the special needs of people diagnosed with a rare or less common cancer. RCA will be holding their annual climb to the top of Mount Kosciuszko on March 12 this year. Details on the RCA website www.rarecancers.org.au


Relay For Life 2016

Supporters are now registering and forming teams for this year’s Relay For Life. The new venue will be the Moss Vale Showground and the event will be held from 12 noon Saturday April 2nd to 12 noon Sunday, April 3rd. The new times will allow for the normal sporting activities that take place on Saturday mornings before families head out to the Showground. This event, which comes to the Highlands every second year, provides substantial financial support for Cancer Council’s wide range of services. To register for Relay, or just to make a donation, visit their website at http://fundraising.cancer.org.au


Coming Events
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group meet at private hospital, 10am, Feb. 23rd. RSVP Jo or Katie on 4862 9470
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Wed. Feb. 24
• Can Assist luncheon at Summerlees, 12 for 12.30pm, March 6th. See above.
• Look Good Feel Better program, Cancer Centre, 10am-12.30pm, March 8
• Can Assist meeting, Thursday, March 10th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• Rare Cancers Australia hold Mount Kosciuszko Challenge, March 12th
• Highlands Tenpin for men’s health forums, Fri. March 18. Telephone 0418 223 696
• Relay For Life 2016 on Sat.-Sun. April 2-3 at Moss Vale Showground


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








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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 lesley@lesleymcpherson.com.au


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 carroll.tom747@gmail.com


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 aurelia@ozemail.com.au


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 www.rarecancers.org.au


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 https://ovariancancer.net.au/

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

• 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 info@sh-cancerconnect.com.au





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