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 - July 2018

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Cancer Services Directory 2018 now online

Our 2018 edition is now out in the community thanks to the support of Southern Highland News. If you did miss out on the flip-style A5 booklet, with the Health Guide at the other end, copies will still be available if you enquire at the Southern Highland News office or at the Cancer Centre within the Private Hospital. The next step is for me to let everyone know that, from this website, our Directory can now also be read online, courtesy of Fairfax special publications, as an interactive digital magazine. Simply go to the Directory tab above and click on the link provided. It’s all there.


Southern Highlands Breast Cancer Support Group
Meeting on the 4th Wednesday of each month 10am to 12 noon at the Mittagong RSL, this group provides information and support to breast cancer patients and survivors. The concept is one of building a safe, supportive and confidential environment. For more information, contact the volunteer facilitator, Lesley McPherson, on 0438001177.

Telephone Support Groups

Cancer Council has had over 10 years’ experience at conducting telephone support groups to offer support and information to adults affected by cancer, including patients, families and carers. Wherever you are in Australia, you can talk with people who are in a similar situation and share experiences and information. The groups give and receive support by sharing practical tips, tools and strategies. Each group has 3-8 members and two qualified facilitators. Groups get together over the phone twice a month; it’s free and confidential. To join or find out more, call Cancer Council 13 11 20 or 1300 755 632 or email tsg@nswcc.org.au









CanTeen

If you’re a teenager with a cancer diagnosis, you can connect with others your own age by joining the CanTeen community. No-one is able to understand quite what you are going through as well as another teenager who has been on a similar journey. Teenagers can connect online or face-to-face. Just visit their website for all the information.


Encore Program

Breast cancer survivors in the Southern Highlands will have an opportunity to take part in the next YWCA Encore program in Mittagong. If you or someone you know is interested in joining the program, the next course will run on Wednesdays, Oct. 17 to Dec. 5. For more information, check out their website www.ywcaencore.org.au Registration is essential : Contact Encore’s Co-ordinator, Vicki Totsis, on 02 9285 6264 or email encore@ywcansw.com.au







Drivers needed to fill GAPS
The General and Practical Support program (GAPS) is a volunteer activity supported by Cancer Council NSW. We have volunteer drivers using their own cars, or the vehicle supplied by Cancer Council, to take cancer patients to medical consultations or treatment. At the moment we need more volunteers willing to help with longer trips, which often means taking people to treatment in Sydney and return. If you are able to help, please get in touch with Megan Mattingly (0242230254) who will explain what is involved.

Coming Events
• Note : There will be no meeting of Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group in July. Meetings resume in August.
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, July 25

• Can Assist Annual Branch Meeting, Mittagong RSL Club (not BDCU) 10am August 21

(Note : it’s the 3rd Tuesday, not the 2nd. Please note the change of venue as well.)
• Daffodil Day this year will be Friday, August 24.
* Film Night fundraiser for Can Assist, Sept 20, 6 for 6.30pm. See details under "News & Events" tab above.
• YWCA Encore program, Mittagong, Wednesdays, Oct. 17 to Dec. 5. See details above.
• Advance Notice : Relay for Life Southern Highlands 2018 will be held at Moss Vale Showground from 11am Sat. Oct. 20 to 11am Sun. Oct. 21.

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


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Cancer Connections - March 2018

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Patient Transport Drivers’ celebration
Mittagong RSL was the venue for a celebration provided for the volunteer drivers who take cancer patients in the Cancer Council bus up to Campbelltown and back for anything up to five days per week. The function was held to mark the 10 year anniversary of this necessary service for Wingecarribee patients being treated at the Macarthur Cancer Therapy centre. It also recognised the achievement of Terry Liebmann who has been the volunteer local co-ordinator of the drivers for all that time. Terry has now stepped down from that role and the celebration acknowledged his essential contribution. I was able to call in for part of the event and what was impressive was the large group of drivers involved, men and women, and the great spirit which clearly exists between them. Maybe this explains the striking fact that, of the 12 original volunteers, 8 of them are still taking part after 10 years. Their excellent assistance to patients has been further recognised by the fact that Cancer Council has just provided a brand new bus to replace the original one.



Pictured above are the team of bus drivers who make the system work. 

Retiring co-ordinator, Terry Liebmann, is standing 5th from the right.


Rotary BowelCare program
I have received word from BowelCare Australia that their voluntary screening program carried out under the auspices of the Rotary Club of East Gosford will be operating all through April and May this year. This means that anytime in those two months people can purchase a BowelCare test kit for $15 from local pharmacies. The price includes pathology testing, with notification of your result to both yourself and your nominated doctor. Your result will be issued within 30 days of your test kit being received by pathology. Most of our local pharmacies take part in the program and a full listing is available on the website www.bowelcare.org.au

Blood Cancer Support Group

For some time now, people who are blood cancer patients in the Southern Highlands have had support available through The Leukaemia Foundation. Part of this help involved the benefit of having a blood cancer support group which was co-ordinated by Rachael Seath. A new co-ordinator has now been appointed to that role : Snezana Djordjevic and she can be contacted at the Leukaemia Foundation’s Wollongong office on 4222 0601. Their useful website is at http://leukaemia.org.au and their email address is info@leukaemia.org.au


Cancer Services Directory 2018
On the same theme, the 2018 issue of our Southern Highlands Cancer Services Directory will have as its focus the important topic of blood cancers. A number of special articles will cover aspects of this lesser-known area of the cancer field with the lead article written by a haematologist. Our Directory will be published in May this year in an issue of the Southern Highland News as one of their Special Publications. Anyone wishing to advertise in that A5 booklet can contact the sales staff at the News office on 4861 2333.

New Co-ordinator for GAPS

A quick mention that we now have Cheryl Hinton assisting with the co-ordination of the GAPS program. Cheryl is a most welcome recruit since she provides relief for Joan Harrison who has fulfilled that role so well over so many years. You can read more about the General and Practical Support service here on this website; just go to the QuickLink on the LHS of screen. The GAPS contact number remains the same : 0428681926 M-F, 9am-5pm.


Coming Events
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. March 27 RSVP Katie
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, March 28
• Can Assist Meeting at BDCU Bowral, 10am, April 10

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


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Cancer Connections - December 2017

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Donation from Oxley College students
A substantial donation of around $800 has been made by students from Oxley College to the high-profile local charity Can Assist. The funds will go towards their special account “Can Assist Families” which is solely dedicated to channelling support to those families where a member - whether a parent or a child - is affected by cancer. Students and their parents contributed generously again this year as they did previously in 2016. Can Assist’s financial help for families has a particular focus where a parent is a cancer patient unable to work yet still supporting young children. So we can say “Well done” to all those involved at Oxley : students, parents and staff.

Prostate cancer research results
Researchers at Cancer Council NSW have shed light on factors that contribute to a risk of prostate cancer which is one of the most common cancers in Australian men. One in five males can develop the disease before the age of 85. The study carried out during 2016-17 identified those factors that appear to double the risk, such as : having a father with a history of prostate cancer; a previous diagnosis of prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland) or benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlargement of the prostate); and the number of sexual partners in a lifetime. Being overweight or obese was also associated with increased risk but to a lesser extent. No association was found between prostate cancer and certain suspected risk factors such as circumcision, vasectomy, vertex balding, erectile function, acne, asthma or diabetes.

Men’s Health month
Another successful round of four sessions was held throughout November with local medical practitioners giving up their time to inform us about their special fields. Put together again by Tom Carroll, Peter van Dort, and the team from WHAM, these evening forums have been very well presented and extremely educational for men and for women too. Many thanks to all concerned : presenters and organisers.

Cancer Services Directory 2018
Current indications are that next year’s issue of our annual Directory will be published a little later, probably in May.

Season’s wishes
At this time of the year, as we prepare to celebrate all our blessings with family and friends, it is well to remember that there are those in our community who are less favoured. Fortunately there are so many in the Southern Highlands district who continually help to earn our reputation for generosity to others, whether by giving financially or by making the time to volunteer. To all those of generous heart, our committee sends a genuine “Thank You” and sincere good wishes for the coming season.

Coming Events
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group will not meet in December or January.
• Can Assist will not meet in January.
• Can Assist fundraiser “Sunday @Centennial”, February 11th. See full details in the News & Events section of this website.
• Next Can Assist meeting will be at BDCU, Bowral, 10am February 13th.
• Next meeting of the Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group, 10am, Tues. Feb. 27.

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


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Cancer Connections - February 2017

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Cancer Services Directory 2017
Each year the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee provides the text for the Cancer Services Directory which is published by Southern Highland News as a free special booklet. This year’s issue will be the 9th edition of the Directory and its theme will be aspects of palliative care. This is certainly a topical issue right now 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. The March edition of this column (on the 3rd Wednesday of the month) will indicate the actual date on which the issue of Southern Highland News will carry the booklet.

Committee consulted for Cancer Plan
At the February meeting of our committee we were pleased to welcome Leah D’Souza who came to consult with us about cancer issues. Leah is the consultant working with staff from NSW Health to develop a new Cancer Plan for the South Western Sydney Local Health District. The District stretches from Bankstown and Fairfield in the north across seven LGAs to Wingecarribee in the south and contains a population of about 820,000. It was an indication of the standing achieved by the Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee as a community-based consultative body that our input was sought on a range of issues affecting cancer patients and their treatment. The Cancer Plan will be the means by which the Local Health District will focus and prioritise its efforts to improve its range of cancer services.

Can Assist to meet at BDCU
Those who attend the monthly meetings of the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist will now have a new venue for all future meetings. The branch, which previously met at the old Bowral Hospital, has now accepted the generous offer from the BDCU Alliance Bank for the use of one of their rooms for its meetings. 
Many thanks to BDCU – we all know the building at 411 Bong Bong Street, Bowral – for once again demonstrating its exceptional commitment to providing support to members of its local community.

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.

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

Coming Events
• February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month; Teal Ribbon Day will be on Feb. 24
• Breast Cancer Support Group, Mittagong RSL, 10am-12 noon, Wed. Feb. 22
• Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group meet at SH Private Hospital, 10-11.30 am, Tues. Feb. 28. RSVP to Katie on 4862 9469.
• Feel the March Charge. Walk or run, solo or team, for Cancer Council this March. See www.themarchcharge.com.au
• Can Assist meeting March. 9, 10am. Note new venue : BDCU, Bong Bong St, Bowral
• 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 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 - 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 - 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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Cancer Connections - October 2015

Friday, October 23, 2015

Chemotherapy co-payments removed
During September, the NSW Government followed through on their pre-election commitment to abolish chemotherapy co-payments for all patients. Prior to this, some people were being charged co-payments for highly specialised chemotherapy, and others were not. The promise to no longer require a co-payment for chemotherapy (and a number of other treatments) came as a result of the ‘Saving Life’ campaign conducted by Cancer Council NSW throughout all electorates in the run up to the election. It’s great to see that the Government has now acted on this so quickly.

Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group
The first meeting of this new local support group catering for any cancer patients (and their carers) was most successful. The inaugural meeting saw 19 people attend which provides a sound basis for continuing support. The group will hold their next gathering on Thursday, October 22nd, 10.00am to 11.30. Venue : conference room of the Southern Highlands Private Hospital. Anyone interested in attending is invited to telephone Jo Pearson or Katie Moran on 4862 9470.

Bounce Forward !

The valuable initiative ‘Bounce Forward’ (previously called ‘Living Well Now’) is a two-day program which will be held at the Southern Highlands Private Hospital on Saturday and Sunday, 28th & 29th November. It provides practical tools for finding peace amidst the turmoil of a cancer diagnosis. The course was developed here in the Southern Highlands by Dr Louella Crawford, a GP and psychotherapist, and Jo Pearson, the Nursing Unit Manager at the Cancer Centre. Further details are available on the flyer shown on this website. Just look under the 'News and Events' tab above. If you would like to make a booking, please contact Jo on 4862 9470.









Organise an event for PINK October and raise funds for Cancer Council NSW

More news bites
The Southern Highlands Spring Auto Fair held at Berrima PS in September raised $20,000 !! Proceeds were donated to the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre. What a fabulous effort by all involved.
The General and Practical Support program (GAPS) is in need of volunteer drivers. Anyone who feels they can help transport cancer patients to or from consultations, treatment, etc is asked to contact Sally Hudson at Cancer Council NSW on 4223 0205.

October is PINK month and we are even more aware of cancer in our community. If you have a relevant local cancer service you wish to see given a free listing in our Cancer Services Directory to be issued in Southern Highland News next March, just send me an email at info@sh-cancerconnect.com.au

• Tom Carroll has organised another Men’s Health Month on behalf of Wingecarribee Health Association for Men (WHAM). There will be four events on Monday evenings in this November, starting on Monday 9th at 6pm. The venue is the new auditorium at St Jude’s Anglican Church, Bowral. For all the details, look on this website under the 'News and Events' tab.

Rare Cancers Australia has organised the ‘Sick or Treat Sessions’, a series of presentations by medical academics and cancer specialists, to be held at the University of Sydney on Oct. 28. For all details, visit their website at www.rarecancers.org.au or call into their office in Springetts Arcade or else contact RCA on 4862 2768.


Coming Events
• October is PINK month. Organise a Girls Night In during October
• Can Assist fundraiser : movie “The Dressmaker” at Empire Cinema, Oct. 22
• Cancer Council’s Pink Ribbon Day – don’t forget to buy a ribbon
• National Bandanna Day against childhood cancer is Sat. Oct. 31
• Men’s Health Month, four Mondays in Nov., starting Nov. 9. See above
• Can Assist meeting Nov. 12, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• “Bounce Forward” program will now be on Nov. 28-29. See above.
• Advance Notice : RFL 2016 on 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 - 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 - August 2015

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Southern Highlands Patient Transport Service
Cancer patients from the Southern Highlands who require transport to the Macarthur Cancer Therapy Centre for treatment, or to see a doctor or specialist, can access the Southern Highlands Patient Transport Service. This bus is funded by Cancer Council NSW and fully operated by trained volunteers.

The service runs daily, picking up patients and their carers at set locations in the Highlands and returning passengers following treatment. The bus can collect patients who are booked to travel from the designated stops at Moss Vale, Bowral, Mittagong, Braemar, Hill Top & Colo Vale, Bargo, Tahmoor and Picton from 9.00am every weekday. Bookings are made by telephoning the Cancer Council Southern Region office in Wollongong on 4223 0200. Passengers are invited to make a $5 donation per day towards the cost of petrol and servicing.





If you are using the service, please inform the nursing staff at the Centre so that they can schedule your treatment to coincide with the arrival of the bus. The bus is staffed by volunteers; no medical equipment or medical staff are on board. Full details about the bus are also available on this website : click here

Blood Cancer Support Group
It was heartening news that the Southern Highlands Blood Cancer Support Group held another successful meeting in August and have now planned their program for the rest of 2015. I have learned that their next meeting will be on Wednesday, 23rd September. Bookings are essential, so please RSVP to Rachel Seath on (02) 4222 0607 or 0466 491 793. Any patient receiving treatment for a blood cancer condition who is interested in joining this group is advised to telephone direct to Rachel who is the Support Co-ordinator, Illawarra and South West Sydney, for the Leukaemia Foundation.

Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group
In addition to the successful blood cancer support group mentioned above, I can now report that a local support group, catering for patients (and their carers) with any form of cancer, is soon to be formed. The first meeting of the new Southern Highlands Cancer Support Group will be held on Thursday, 24th September, 10.00 – 11.30am in the conference room of the Southern Highlands Private Hospital. See also the item and flyer in our ‘News and Events’ column. Anyone interested in attending is asked to RSVP (for catering purposes) by telephoning Jo Pearson or Katie Moran on 4862 9470.

Quick reminder of three events :

• Daffodil Day, 
a major fundraiser for Cancer Council, is on Friday, 28th August this year. Buy a badge, a pen or other merchandise on that day, or simply make a donation, at stalls staffed by volunteers. Also some local stores and outlets will have material available in the week prior.
* "Bounce Forward" Program 
will be held again at the Southern Highlands Private Hospital on Sat. & Sun., September 12 & 13. You will find all the details and flyer already under our "News & Events" tab above.
• Southern Highlands Spring Auto Fair

is at Berrima Public School on September 27th, 9am - 2pm. Organised by the Highland Cruisers, this event showcases vintage and veteran cars, hot rods, muscle cars and motorcycles. Contact : Darren Freer 0439 110 358, Phil Walmsley 0438 402 797, or email shspringautofair@gmail.com. All proceeds are going to the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre, a most worthy cause.


Coming Events
• Daffodil Day supporting Cancer Council NSW will be Friday, August 28

• August is a month for “Cook for a Cure”, a Research Australia initiative to educate about the importance of health and medical research. Visit http://cookforacure.com.au/

• 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
* "Bounce Forward" Program at the SH Private Hospital, Sept. 12 & 13 : see all the details under our "News & Events" tab above
• September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month - 600 Australian children are diagnosed with cancer every year
• September is also Prostate Cancer Awareness Month - in 2012 there were over 3,000 deaths caused by prostate cancer
• Spring Auto Fair, Berrima Public School, Sept. 27, 9am-2pm
• Home & Garden Show will be at Bong Bong Racecourse, Oct. 10th-11th

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





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