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 - December 2016

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Cancer Council & IPTAAS accommodation help

In the October column, I mentioned the IPTAAS funding which some Southern Highlands cancer patients may be eligible for if they are required to travel out of the area for treatment. This Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme is a little complicated but a full two-page explanation of eligibility and how it works can be found on this website in the "News & Events" section.


This month I have room to say something about a related service now provided by Cancer Council NSW on the accommodation side of the equation. Cancer patients who qualify for travel assistance while they receive treatment may also be able to access IPTAAS accommodation support as well. Various subsidies are available, depending on whether the patient and carer are staying in private accommodation, a not-for-profit or a for-profit facility. To supplement this subsidy, Cancer Council NSW have forged a special arrangement with the ACCOR hotel group to provide a reduced tariff while patients are away from home. Since the ACCOR Group operates numerous hotels at different price points, there should be something to suit most people’s pocket. With the IPTAAS subsidy along with the reduced-rate tariff, this is a substantial help in defraying the costs of treatment away from home. To access these supports, patients should ring the Cancer Council NSW Information & Support line on 13 11 20 and also visit the Enable website at www.enable.health.nsw.gov.au/home/iptaas

Reporting on the Trust Fund event
Readers who saw in this column last month a notice of the Garden event for the Peter Coupland Trust Fund, or who attended on the day itself, will be pleased to learn just how successful it was.



Wonderfully sunny weather was the first sure omen for an enjoyable day. That was confirmed by the strong attendance of Peter's colleagues and friends, and their friends too, who responded to the opportunity to do something in his memory. All was further heightened by the wonderful teamwork which went into the organisation for the event. And that was finally capped off when we found what a lovely setting had been made available to us. The wonderful gardens at Greyleaves, where the fundraiser was held, were opened up to all by our generous hosts, Belinda and Paul Shanahan. Spread out across the shaded grounds, guests were treated to a range of delightful refreshments – in my opinion much more grand than the advertised "Devonshire tea". And towards the end of the day, we also had the privilege of viewing an adjoining garden, courtesy of Robyn Coupland, Peter's mother. Lead organiser, Naomi Bermingham, has told me that the event raised more than $3,000 which will all go to the Trust Fund established in Peter's memory.



Pictured above : the organisers of the event (L to R) Naomi, Michelle, Belinda and Jo preparing the special afternoon tea.

Season’s Greetings
To readers of this column we send our sincere best wishes for this holiday season. For those of you on your own cancer journey, we wish that you can maintain the quality of hope. For your family, carers and friends, we wish that you sustain your continuing level of support. For those who regularly step up to the plate with help and donations to cancer charities, we thank you on behalf of all those who benefit from your generosity. For those who simply like to keep up to date on cancer matters and learn of local cancer-related events, please keep reading in 2017.

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 - 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 - December 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fantastic support for Can Assist

What a wonderful night was had by all those who attended the spectacular “Venice Carnivale” event at Bendooley Estate in November. Full marks to our local Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist for taking on such a bold enterprise. All credit is due to the enormous efforts made by the organising team of Kit Bullivant, Desmond Freeman, Cathy Quain and Ed Fisher for developing and carrying through on such an exciting concept. Over 100 people responded to the call and enjoyed the special masked carnival atmosphere. 


Pictured are a few scenes from the spectacular evening. Further excellent photos taken by Hamish Ta-me can be viewed on the website of Southern Highland News. 




The Secretary of the local branch, Terry Hughes (pictured third from the left in the photo below) has this week announced a final result for the event. The organisers and all participants can feel proud that, together, they have raised the sum of $10,077 which will be used to benefit those members of our community who are living with cancer.



Cancer Services Directory 2015
The Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee is currently planning next year’s issue of the Directory. This time we are putting the focus on cancer within families. If you provide a service for cancer patients or carers and you would like to be given a free listing for the very first time, or if you wish to make an alteration to your current listing, please get in touch with me. Contact details are below.

Success for Men’s Health Forums
Congratulations to Tom Carroll and Wingecarribee Health Association for Men (WHAM) for putting together the series of men’s health forums held at the Moss Vale Golf Club throughout November. With a total attendance of men and women approaching 400 across the four sessions, this strong response has made it clear that there is a great demand for information evenings of this kind. Calls have been made for a similar event to be held in 2015.



Pictured at the Men's Health Forum held on November 13th : (L to R) Dr Bill Quinn, Lucy Forbes, Dr Geoff Sparkes.
 
Patient Opinion is important

Have you heard of the new website by Consumers Health Forum of Australia ? It’s an independent site for you to register your experiences of Australian health services, good or bad. Their website says : “Tell us what was good and what could be improved, say thanks or call for change - we'll pass your stories to the people in the health services who can make a difference.” What a good initiative. You can find them at www.patientopinion.org.au


Season’s greetings
Christmas and the holiday season are fast approaching. Time to recognise all the good efforts of so many folk in our district who help others. Time to pause and reflect on the many achievements recorded during the last twelve months and then to look forward to what more can be done by our combined efforts in 2015. Season’s greetings to all our volunteers and supporters throughout the district who do so much to benefit those with cancer.

Coming Events
• Please note : Can Assist does not meet in January.
Next meeting will be on February 12th, 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 : https://ovariancancer.net.au/

• World Cancer Day will be on Wednesday, February 4th.

• Hold an Iced Tea Party for lymphoedema research, Jan. 12 to March 20. All details on the website : www.icedteaparty.com.au


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 - October 2014

Thursday, October 16, 2014

October is Pink Month

Breast cancer is the most common cancer for women in Australia, with a new case diagnosed every hour. Wear a Pink Ribbon in October and help increase awareness about breast cancer or get the girls together for a ‘Girls Night In’. You can also help raise funds for breast cancer research by registering to volunteer time at one of the local sites on merchandise day, which is Friday 24th October. (The official National Pink Ribbon Day will be on Monday 27th.) For further information please visit www.pinkribbon.com.au Local sites will be at Springetts Arcade and Mittagong Marketplace.





Men’s Health Month

November in the Southern Highlands will see a series of free information sessions on men’s health featuring speakers who are all from our local medical community. These events will be held at the Moss Vale Golf Club, starting at 6.00pm (sharp) through to 7.30pm on each Thursday evening. 


The speakers will be : Dr Lalak (urologist) and Dr Barnett (GP) Nov 6th; Dr Quinn (cardiologist), Dr Sparkes (GP) and Lucy Forbes (Physiotherapist)  Nov 13th; Dr Leicester (orthopaedic surgeon), Dr Roche (GP) and Rachel van der Meer (Exercise Physiologist)  Nov 20th; and Dr Wikramanyaka (bowel specialist), Dr Lewis (GP) and Rachel van der Meer (speaking as a Dietician) Nov 27th. All men and women are welcome. For further information, telephone the organiser, Tom Carroll, on 0419482208 or email carroll.tom@gmail.com


Can Assist’s "Venice Carnivale"

Bendooley Estate, Berrima is the setting for a special dinner and auction on Thursday, 20th November. The evening has an Italian theme and guests are to be dressed “glamorous and masked”. The theme derives from an original framed picture of the San Marco Piazza generously donated by its artist, Prof. Desmond Freeman, a strong supporter of Can Assist. This beautiful painting and many other unusual and valuable items will be available in the “Amazing Mystique Auction”. 


The spectacular event is a major fundraiser for the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist which is currently helping 60 patients with pharmacy bills, transport costs, accommodation at treatment centres, oxygen, palliative care, and respite night nursing. Full details are shown in the “News and Events” item on this website. For inquiries, telephone 0475 522 159 or email cavcarnival@gmail.com Tickets are $185 each and are available at  www.trybooking.com/94578


Volunteers helping others

Can you volunteer to help cancer patients in our GAPS program ? The General and Practical Support service is available in the Wingecarribee to people undergoing cancer treatment. Training for volunteers is provided by Cancer Council NSW. You can assist preparing light snacks; shopping; respite for a carer; and transport to medical appointments or to connect with the Patient Transport Service. Whether you are helping a patient or their carer, your assistance will be greatly appreciated by people who are facing a most serious challenge to their health. If you would like to take part, phone Tina Hunt at Cancer Council on 4223 0200.

Rare Cancers Australia

A reminder of two events : The inaugural “Sick or Treat” Halloween Ball on Friday 31st October at The Intercontinental Hotel in Sydney and the 3rd Annual Rare Cancers Cricket Challenge at Bradman Oval on Sunday 2nd November. Proceeds go to help Australians in need of cancer medication not funded by government. For more information on both these events, visit the website www.rarecancers.org.au or phone 02 4862 2768.


Coming Events

• October is Pink Month : ‘Girls Night In’ and Pink Ribbon events are on
• Pink Ribbon Day, Fri. Oct. 24th. Tables at Springetts & Mittagong Marketplace
• National Bandanna Day is on October 31st
• Men’s Health Month events in November. Please see details above.
• Can Assist meeting, Thurs. Nov. 13th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• “Venice Carnivale” for Can Assist, Thurs. Nov. 20th at Bendooley Estate

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


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Cancer Connections - September 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Can Assist’s "Venice Carnivale"

Berkelouw’s Bendooley Estate, Berrima, will be the venue for this Dinner and Auction on Thursday, 20th November. The evening has an Italian theme and guests are to be dressed “glamorous and masked”. The theme has been inspired by an original framed picture of the San Marco Piazza generously donated by its artist, Prof. Desmond Freeman. This beautiful painting and many other unusual and valuable items will be available in the “Amazing Mystique Auction”. The spectacular event is a major fundraiser for the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist which is currently helping 60 patients with pharmacy bills, transport costs, accommodation at treatment centres, oxygen, palliative care, and respite night nursing. Full details are shown in the “News and Events” item on this website. For inquiries, telephone 0475 522 159 or email

 cavcarnival@gmail.com Tickets are $185 each and are available right now at www.trybooking.com/94578

Pictured below : The magnificent Venice panorama - by Desmond Freeman.



Volunteers helping others
Can you volunteer to help cancer patients in our GAPS program ? The General and Practical Support service is available in the Wingecarribee to people undergoing cancer treatment. Training for volunteers is provided by Cancer Council NSW. You can assist preparing light snacks; shopping; respite for a carer; and transport to medical appointments or to connect with the Patient Transport Service. Whether you are helping a patient or their carer, your assistance will be greatly appreciated by people who are facing a most serious challenge to their health. If you would like to take part, phone Tina Hunt at Cancer Council on 4223 0200.

YWCA Encore program returns
This is a free gentle exercise program for women who have experienced mastectomy, lumpectomy or breast reconstruction surgery. The 8-week program – sessions of 2 hours/week – is based on gentle floor and hydrotherapy exercises specifically designed to improve movement, flexibility and strength after surgery. The sessions also provide time and space for relaxation, information sharing and discussion with women who have had a similar experience. More information is online at www.ywcaencore.org.au. To book for the program beginning at Henley Brae on 15th October, phone Mandy Lawson on 4868 3246 or 0438 68 3246.

Rare Cancers Australia events

Two dates for fundraising events : Rare Cancers Australia is staging its first ever “Sick or Treat” Halloween Ball on 31st October 2014 at The Intercontinental Hotel in Sydney. Hosted by the ABC’s Tony Jones, this night of fine food and wine also features a performance by Abby Dobson. Proceeds go to help Australians in need of cancer medicines that are not funded by government. After that, 2nd November will see the 3rd Annual Rare Cancers Cricket Challenge at Bradman Oval. Join a team or just come down to the ground and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. For more information on both these events, visit the website www.rarecancers.org.au or phone 02 4862 2768.


New Blood Cancer Support Group
The latest information received is that this new support group will definitely be functioning in the Southern Highlands. Those who are interested in enquiring about the group are asked to telephone Emily Barry at the Leukaemia Foundation on 4222 0602.

Does your cancer service help families?
If you provide a service to assist the family of a cancer patient, we can list it in the 2015 issue of the Southern Highlands Cancer Services Directory. Our committee is currently planning next year’s issue which will focus on support for local families. So, to obtain a free listing, or if you are interested in advertising in the booklet and you haven’t done so before, please get in touch with me. Or if you just need to amend a current entry, give me a call.

Coming Events
• “Bounce Forward” program at SH Private Hospital, Sept. 20-21
• October is Pink Month : “Girls Night In” & Pink Ribbon events are on.
• Can Assist meeting, Thurs. Oct. 9th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital
• Haemophilia Awareness Week occurs October 12th -18th
• YWCA Encore program commences at Henley Brae, Wed. Oct. 15
• “Sick or Treat” Halloween Ball for Rare Cancers Aust., Oct. 31
• Annual Rare Cancers Cricket Challenge at Bradman Oval, Nov. 2
Advance Notice : Can Assist’s “Venice Carnivale”, Nov. 20th

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


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Cancer Connections - June 2014

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Can you spare a little time ?
Currently some opportunities exist for people to volunteer to help cancer patients by means of our GAPS program. That’s the General and Practical Support service which is available throughout the Wingecarribee Shire to people undergoing cancer treatment. Training for volunteers will be provided by Cancer Council NSW. Some of the ways you can assist include preparing light snacks; shopping; respite for a carer; and transport to medical appointments or to connect with the Patient Transport Service taking patients to Campbelltown. Whether you are helping a patient or their carer, your assistance will be greatly appreciated by people who are facing a most serious challenge to their health. If you would like to take part, telephone Tina Hunt at Cancer Council NSW on (02) 4223 0200.





Pictured above are some of our team of GAPS volunteers (L to R) : Suzy Kennon, Jann Wadsworth, Aurelia Grigore-Reid, Chris Roode, Wanda Lach, Julianne Halpin, Belinda Lamb (Cancer Council), Judith Brooks, Joan Harrison (GAPS Co-ordinator),
Di Hinton, John Hinton. In front : Nick Goodall.


Relay For Life 2014
In the wash up to this year’s immensely successful Relay For Life in the Southern Highlands, the tally for funds raised has now passed the $286,000 mark – a fantastic achievement and proof once again of how generously the Southern Highlands community will respond to a good program and a worthwhile cause. (A report on Relay was given in our Cancer Connections blog for May – access via the tab above.) Our keynote speaker on that cold, wet day, Barbara Williams, was both entertaining and inspiring as she described the excitement she had in forming a breast cancer dragon boat team and competing at regattas. A reminder that the full text of what she had to say can now be read on the News & Events section of this website just click here.

New members for the committee
The Southern Highlands Cancer Leadership Committee has recently benefited from the addition of a number of local health professionals who have come on board. We shall now have the added expertise brought by : Peter Coupland and Mel Kalde, who are both employed as Social Workers at the Southern Highlands Cancer Centre; Mira Glavan, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Palliative Care, from the Wingecarribee Community Health Centre; and also rejoining the committee at its next meeting will be Jonathan Purvis who was this committee’s first chairman and, more recently, the co-chair of the successful local Relay For Life 2014. A full listing of the membership of our committee can be viewed under the “About Us” tab above.

Concerns about the co-payments issue
At its June meeting, a number of committee members expressed their concerns about some of the Federal Budget’s changes in the health area. Of particular concern were the proposals to charge a co-payment for GP visits and some medical tests, which, if passed by Parliament, will place extra burdens on cancer patients who already face financial difficulties due to their illness and which will, as a result, create an even greater demand for assistance from such organisations as Can Assist. The Federal Government’s stated intention to restructure in 2015 the pattern of Medicare Locals was also viewed as a backward step, in view of the fact that the Medicare Local for our district was making real advances in improving primary health care across a range of medical fields.

Coming Events
• Red Aussie Apple Day, June 18, to raise awareness of bowel cancer
• “Dry July” is a month for raising funds for families with cancer
• “Call to Arms” in July - football teams support action against cancer
• Can Assist meeting, Thurs., July 10th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital.
• Community Hospice “Dying To Know Day”, Mittagong RSL, 10am-3pm August 23rd

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



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Cancer Connections - December 2013

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Martine’s success story
Results are in for the unique effort by Martine Rolff, to raise funds for the Can Assist. Martine made the amazingly generous decision to have her long tresses cut off and donated for the making of wigs for women undergoing chemotherapy. As a result, 45cm of beautiful hair are now available – enough to make two wigs.

On top of that, she used the special event as a fundraiser for the Southern Highlands branch of Can Assist. Donation tins were available where she is employed at the Robertson Pharmacy, they were spread around other businesses in the village, and online donations were made as well. The original target was $1000. So far, $2,400 has been collected. A fabulous achievement, Martine !

The so-called “forgotten cancers”
“Many cancer types are grossly under-funded and under-resourced, yet they are among the most common causes of cancer deaths in Australia. We call these the forgotten cancers,” said Assoc. Professor Freddy Sitas of Cancer Council NSW. Together, they account for 35% of all cancer deaths in NSW.

Figures recently released by Cancer Council NSW show pancreatic and thyroid cancer have seen the least improvements in cancer death reduction over a 20 year study period — only a 6% reduction in death rate, while liver cancer has seen an increase. Under-funded cancers such as pancreatic cancer, cancer of the unknown primary, and liver cancer are in the top ten most common causes of cancer death in Australia, while brain cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death in children and young people. On average, 40 Australians die from these forgotten cancers every day. Because of this, Cancer Council NSW has made many of these cancers a key focus for new research. Brain and pancreatic cancer are our second and third most funded cancers, each receiving close to $1m in research funding this year. To read the full article on the Cancer Council website, click here


Season’s best wishes
This Christmas season, let’s pause and spare a thought for the enormous number of good folk in the Southern Highlands who work so consistently to support those with cancer. Let’s remember the volunteer drivers who take patients in the bus to Campbelltown and back every day; the volunteers who help make treatment more comfortable at the Cancer Centre; the GAPS volunteers who assist patients and carers in their home or take them to medical appointments; the organisers of support groups; and all those many people collecting and fundraising for Cancer Council, Can Assist, and the other charities. Life would be harder for so many patients without such wonderful community spirit. Best wishes to you all.

Coming Events

• Please note : There is no meeting of Can Assist in January.
• February is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.
• World Cancer Day is on Tuesday, February 4th.
• Can Assist meeting, Thurs, February 13th, 10am at the old Bowral Hospital.

• “High Tea / High Fashion” fundraiser for Can Assist at Southern Highland Wines, 2-5pm, Saturday, February 22nd. For tickets, please call 0474 647 506. 

    SORRY -- THIS EVENT IS NOW SOLD OUT.

• Cancer Services Directory 2014 will be out on Wednesday, February 26th.

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


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