New Cancer Services director for Illawarra

Shoalhaven Local Health District Meets with Cancer Outpatients Appeal

The quarterly Governance meeting for the Milton Cancer Services Centre was chaired last week by the recently appointed Director of Cancer Services for the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, Anthony Arnold.

Anthony is a medical radiation therapist who brings experience and enthusiasm to the role of integrating cancer services throughout the Health District. He comes to the position at a time when cancer services are expanding significantly, particularly in the Shoalhaven with the building of the new cancer centre in Nowra which is due for completion in 2013. Anthony explained,” With the completion of the Nowra centre and expansion of Wollongong’s cancer facilities we will have a very comprehensive range of excellent cancer services thoughout the District. We will coordinate our intake process so patients will be directed to the best care available for their particular therapy needs. Having the two facilities in the Shoalhaven means patients will have access to a wider range of services, including radiation therapy, within the Shoalhaven and so will be able to receive care as close to home as possible and, importantly be able to make informed choices about their care and where it will be provided.

“ Many people are unaware of the role they can play in this decision process. In some cases they may have surgery in Sydney, but may still be able to opt for radiation and/or chemotherapy in their local area. Each case is different, but it is important that patients and family members participate in making those decisions in the full knowledge of what services are available to best meet their specific needs.

“ I was very impressed when I toured the Cancer Centre in Milton. It’s a great credit to the southern Shoalhaven community and will play an important role in our overall plan for the provision of cancer services throughout the District. Our quarterly governance meetings with representatives of the Cancer Outpatients Appeal provide an opportunity to review available programs and services and, importantly to identify opportunities to add new services. I am acutely aware of the lobbying the Appeal does to attract specialists to hold their clinics at Milton. While it is not possible at this time, we have committed to hold local specialist clinics when the Nowra centre comes on stream and, in the meantime, we are doing trials on video link consults in appropriate cases using the video conferencing facilities available in Milton. 

“The Appeal has also been lobbying for the introduction of genetic counselling in Milton and we are working on alternative ways this can be achieved in the foreseeable future. The Cancer Outpatients Appeal is a strong voice for the community and an important partner for the District as we develop cancer services into the future. We appreciate their commitment and input.”

New Infusion Pumps for Cancer Centre

The staff at the Milton Cancer Centre are all smiles thanks to the Cancer Outpatients Appeal which has purchased 8 new infusion pumps for the  Centre at a cost of $15,600.
The new IV pumps are the latest generation of pumps which keep pace with the changes taking place in the customised cocktail of drugs being ordered for individual chemotherapy patients. These changes are resulting in more complex treatments, with patients receiving different combinations of drugs over longer periods of time compared with a few years ago and these pumps are designed to provide the flexibility needed to meet these therapy changes.

Dee Carrington, President of the Cancer Outpatients Appeal said, “We are pleased to be able to support the advances in chemotherapy administration by purchasing these new IV pumps for the Cancer Centre.

“It is a notable achievement to report that over 95% of local cancer patients needing chemotherapy support are now able to be treated in Milton instead of having to travel to Nowra or Wollongong. This is a reflection of the growing skills and expertise of local staff and the importance of the Milton Cancer Centre in the provision of quality cancer services to our area. It makes the years of fundraising for and building the Cancer Centre all worthwhile when we see this progress and the benefits it brings to local patients and their families.

“The purchase of these pumps is a good example of why the volunteers of the Cancer Outpatients Appeal continue their charitable work in support of the Cancer Centre and the local community.We are grateful to local community groups, individuals, clubs and businesses who continue to donate to the Appeal and allow us to provide the support needed to see our Cancer Centre advance and develop.”

Carers’ Day A Huge Success

As part of Carers’ Week, Milton Ulladulla Hospital held a Carers’ Day to recognise and celebrate the outstanding and selfless contribution of carers in our community.

The day began with the Cancer Services Centre being transformed into a health and beauty salon where carers had a chance  to sign up for some serious pampering opportunities – hairdressing, facial, manicure, massage, Bowen therapy and reflexology. In between treatments, carers enjoyed morning tea and a chance to relax, chat and compare notes with other carers.

Organiser Bruce Corke, Acting Deputy Director of Nursing, commented, “We were very pleased to see 26 carers able to take a break from their important carer roles to come along and enjoy this day. Having all these services available at the Cancer Services Centre meant they could enjoy all on offer in a relaxing and supportive environment. We would like to thank Viv Burns of Viv’s Mobile Hairdressing and Angela Book of Milton Hair Design  for providing hairdressing; Louise and the staff of Isis Egyptian Spa for setting up a room of beauty treatments; Kerry Devenport for providing Bowen Therapy; Marian Kain for massage and reflexology; and Sadhana Goulston for providing massage therapy.”

After a lunch prepared by Sea Juiced, the lucky door prize was drawn and Sue Pender was the winner of a beautiful  arrangement of native flowers designed by Milton Florists.

Bruce also thanked the Cancer Outpatients Appeal for sponsoring the Carers’ Day event.

Back On Track Exercise Program Returns to Milton Cancer Centre

The Cancer Outpatients Appeal is pleased to announce that Helen Reeson will be holding another series of “Back On Track” exercise sessions designed for cancer survivors who have completed their treatment and are at any stage of their recovery.

The program will be held in the meeting room of the Milton Cancer Centre starting on Monday July 2nd at 10am to 10:45am and running each week at this time for 7 weeks until August 13th.

Helen has designed this program specifically to build strength, reduce tightness and improve flexibility and range of motion, without involving any forceful moves or pain. Its aim is to work in harmony with the body to get each participant feeling good and on track to positive health and wellbeing. Helen will also tailor specific exercises to meet individual needs of participants.

Dee Carrington, President of the Cancer Outpatients Appeal said,” Helen’s professional experience as a lecturer in anatomy and physiology and massage therapy make her the ideal person to develop and facilitate this program. The previous sessions run by Helen received great reviews from participants and we encourage cancer survivors to take advantage of this free program. Places are limited so anyone interested should sign up as soon as possible by calling and booking their place with the Cancer Centre’s Receptionist on 4454 9164 or 4454 9168.

The COA Acquisitive Art Awards A Resounding Success.

The  official opening and presentation of awards at the Cancer Outpatients Appeal Acquisitive Art Awards took place in front of a packed audience at the Dunn Lewis Centre in Ulladulla.

Sydney based artist Pamela Griffith, well known for her portrayal of the Australian landscape in her paintings and etchings, opened the exhibition and presented the awards to sixteen local southern Shoalhaven artists. Pamela also donated a copy of her book, “Australia, An Artist’s Journey Through The Landscape” as a door prize and a colour seascape etching for the Milton Cancer Centre.

The idea for the awards stemmed from a request to the Cancer Outpatients Appeal to help provide artwork for the new Shoalhaven Cancer Care Centre being built at the Shoalhaven Hospital in Nowra. Dee Carrington, President of the Cancer Outpatients Appeal said,” Rather than buy a number of existing works from a gallery we decided to hold an acquisitive competition specifically for artists in the southern Shoalhaven to provide a positive link to home for patients from our community who will attend the Nowra Cancer Centre for treatment. It also provided a special opportunity for local artists to showcase their skills and creativity in interpreting the theme “Journeys and Horizons”.

“ The theme was chosen to reflect the journey cancer patients and their carers travel as they proceed through diagnosis, treatment and recovery from this disease and we were very impressed with the artworks it engendered. In total we had 16 award winners who received prizes of $5,000, $2,500 or $1,000, along with a Peoples’ Choice Award of $1,000 which was won by Andrew Antoniou with his watercolour, “Motherland”.

“ The organising committee – myself, Sonia Smiles and Jeanne James – have received extremely positive feedback on the project and the opening night. To see all the works hanging in the gallery at the Dunn Lewis Centre was amazing and immensely satisfying for us after several months of hard work to bring the project to fruition. We are very proud of the collection of work chosen by the judges to hang in the accommodation units of the new cancer centre when it opens next year.

“Our special thanks go to the Dunn Lewis Centre, the Alley Gallery Committee, our sponsors and volunteers who all played an important role in the success of the COA Acquisitive Art Awards.”