HMAS Leeuwin 71
Seems some of you sorry lot are in need of medical attention these days... Time to start a health issues page to help with enquiries and all the how to's. Many thanks to all those who will submit articles and tips here in the future... Midge
Minister for Veterans' Affairs Mailing List VA013 Tuesday, 30 January 2007


Veterans requiring prescription sunglasses will now be able to join the growing number of 
Australians choosing acrylic photochromic, or transition lenses, after a decision by the 
Repatriation Commission to expand the range of visual aids available to eligible veterans.

Minister for Veterans' Affairs Bruce Billson announced that eligible veterans prescribed 
transition lenses will now have the cost covered by the Department of Veterans' Affairs.

"Previously only those veterans requiring lightweight spectacles for protection from sun 
glare-usually eye surgery patients with fragile or damaged facial skin-have been able to 
access transition lenses through my Department," he said.

"With the cost of transition lenses decreasing, and the technology improving with lighter, 
shatter-proof acrylic material, transition lenses are an increasingly effective and viable 
treatment option and their prescription can be a valuable prevention measure."

Transition lenses automatically darken as they are exposed to sunlight, and lighten when 
no longer exposed, so they can be worn indoor and outdoor.  Like sunglasses, these lenses 
reduce glare and protect the eyes against damage by ultraviolet (UV) exposure, which has 
been linked to a range of ocular disorders, including cataracts, pterygium, cancer of the 
skin around the eye, photokeratitis (sunburn of the cornea) and corneal degenerative changes.

"The cost of treating the results of UV exposure is significant, with my Department 
spending more than $20 million annually on ophthalmology procedures.  Veterans are also 
increasingly requiring treatment for the combined effects of long-term sun exposure and 
deterioration of skin quality," Mr Billson said.

"My Department is constantly reviewing its range of available optical aids to keep pace 
with technological advances and provide the highest possible standard of care for veterans."

In determining the Schedule of Prescribable Items, the Repatriation Commission is advised 
by the Optical Advisory Group, which is an expert panel comprising representatives of 
optometrical and optical dispensing representative bodies, DVA's Optical Adviser and 
departmental representatives.

TO: TPI Federation Directors
FM: Blue Ryan
                                                                                        GOOD NEWS

Attached is a letter from Minister Billson concerning a replacement for your current Gold Card when your card expires. 
As you are aware we along with the VVF and PVA have been trying for some 7 years to have a Gold Card that is distinctive and more representative of TPI’s. 

We raised this issue with Minister Billson at our first meeting, as we had with previous ministers, and he has delivered what we wanted. 
This is a very good positive outcome which, as explained in the attached letter, will flow on to the new Access Card when it is introduced.
Could you please ensure your members are made aware of these changes to the Gold Card and the details of the proposed Access Card.

Blue Ryan


Still procrastinating???
From: Bill and Janet [mailto:[email protected]
Sent: Thursday, 22 February 2007 3:34 PM
To: Peter Maher
Subject: Re: Quick Newsletter 
Hi Peter,

After 2 years of doing nothing and saying to myself "Not Me", I finally got of my backside and went and had the Asbestos Screening Tests,
Being a radar operator I put myself in the low category for exposure.
You can imagine my surprise that the X-rays showed that I had been exposed in two places in the lining of my lungs,
which they called Pleural Plaque.
I have now gone a CAT Scan for further evaluation and hopefully will no the results shortly.
I am sending this to you to highlight the fact that even if you think you have never been exposed directly to asbestos
my recommendation would be: 

Along with this e-mail, I’ll also send another, that concerns Peter “Lurch” Gover, Lurch was an LEM on the commissioning crew/69 Vietnam trip on BRISBANE, and would be well known to many as he has often attended our Sydney reunions.
The saga highlights an important fact that you should all be aware of – Lurch, although he was entitled, had never got around to establishing his credentials with the Department of Veterans Affairs, and seems to have let our annual reminders slip,  that DVA will meet the costs of treatment for cancer and TB for all ex-servicemen, and they don’t have to prove it was service related.
This, then, is a timely reminder to the procrastinators among you – if you have an entitlement to DVA, as per the relevant Acts, as a veteran, then, get off your backside and do something about it.    Make a trip to one of the Ex-Service Organizations (ESO’s) who will help –VVFA , VVAA,  RSL (Where they have an advocate), or simply contact our own Harry Kirkman (Commissioning crew) –whose contact details are on the “Lurch” e-mail.   Be Warned, though, don’t try to do it yourself, use an advocate/pension officer to help.
Again, let me harp on about the Asbestos Screening, we tell you about this every year too, well, here are the details again:

Defence Health Services and the Defence Asbestos Registration Service database .

Until the 1970's asbestos was commonly used as a building material in many Australian buildings. It was frequently used in ships for lagging, fire retarding and soundproofing until the 1990's.  Because of this common industry practice some Defence buildings and (All?) naval vessels contain asbestos.

If you feel you may have been exposed to asbestos, (if you were a member of the RAN there is no "may have been" involved - you were!), and you want further advice on possible exposure to asbestos, the Department of Defence - in conjunction with Health Services Australia - conducts a free service for assessment, counseling and, if necessary testing. You can access this service by contacting the Health Services Australia office in your region on the following, phone numbers, but you will first need to contact the Defence Call Center on 1800 000 655 and obtain a reference number.   Be advised that the call centre number can be difficult to get on to, so you will need to persevere.

You will need to have the above reference number when you call the Health Services Australia numbers below.

SYDNEY 02 8396 0680

PARRAMATTA 02 9806 7362 /7354

NEWCASTLE 02 4 726 4033

WOLLONGONG 02 4226 0172

MELBOURNE 03 9224 8376

ADELAIDE 08 8468 6084

BRISBANE 07 3307 9422 

DARWIN OS 8981 7492

PERTH 08 9324 6444

CANBERRA 02 6269 2022

HOBART 03 6211 0464.

This is of interest to the guys who served on Melbourne and Supply... What next???
This page was last updated: December 19, 2016


Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Bruce Billson says the Australian General Practice Network (AGPN) and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) would work in partnership on a new phase of The ‘Can Do’ Initiative: Managing Mental Health and Substance Use in General Practice.

Mr Billson said the mental health of Australia’s veterans is a major priority and that he remained totally committed to expanding access to the range of mental health care services available to veterans and their families.

As part of this commitment DVA has negotiated a contract with the AGPN to extend the ‘Can Do’ initiative to include a new veterans’-specific component.

The initiative promotes closer contact and communication between health professionals, including the Vietnam Veterans Counselling Service (VVCS), to ensure a better response to the mental health needs of veterans and their families across the healthcare sector.

“This new phase will raise awareness and increase clinical knowledge and skills among health professionals of the unique needs and experiences of Australia’s veterans and defence force communities,” he said.

The partnership between my Department and the AGPN comes as part of the 2006–07 Veterans’ Affairs budget announcement of an extra $20 million over four years to improve access for Australia’s veterans and defence force communities to mental health services.

“This new knowledge sharing initiative will help enhance hospital and medical care, aged care services, rehabilitation programs, counselling and other community-based services across Australia for the benefit of veterans and their families,” Mr Billson said.

Received the following information and believe it to be one of the most important topics with regard to our health that I can think of. Recently I have dealt with a number of case of our mates who suffer from one form or another after prolonged exposure to asbestos during Naval service. 
Thanks for the advice. Please read it carefully.
Cheers, Les 

I wish to endorse and support the comments from 'Bill' to Peter Maher about the possible effects of exposure to asbestos fibres.

I hold Distinction-level qualifications in Industrial Hygiene and Medicine and separate Distinction-level qualifications in Industrial Law.

After my service in the RAAF and Vietnam, I became a WA State Government Inspector of what these days is called Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare.

During the early 1980s, I was appointed as the Community Development Officer for the WA Asbestos Diseases Society and received an almost immediate reclassification as their Executive Research Officer in which capacity I performed the medico-legal research which produced the documentary evidence which enabled the law firm of Slater and Gordon to 'lift the corporate veil' (a legal term) on Midalco and CSR (Colonial Sugar Refineries). 

Midalco was the 'shelf company' which ostensibly operated the asbestos mining at Wittenoom Gorge in Western Australia. CSR was their 'parent' company.

My purpose in explaining this apparently irrelevant information to you is to underline the importance of my concern for ANYONE who may have been exposed to,
or may have inhaled, asbestos fibres during the course 
of their working lives regardless of the source OR THE QUANTITY.

LEVEL-OF-EXPOSURE LIMIT for exposure to it.While I do not wish to unduly alarm anyone, the facts are as follow..............

ANYONE who has ever been exposed to asbestos fibres IS at risk of developing the following diseases:

1. Pneumoconiosis - a generic term which means any fibrosis (scarring) of the lung tissue as a result of exposure to, and inhalation of, a variety of mineral dusts - INCLUDING ASBESTOS.

2. Asbestosis - chronic lung disease resulting from the inhalation of asbestos dust over a period (of time). Thickening and scarring of the lung tissueoccurs with reduced efficiency of oxygen and carbon dioxide interchange with the blood. The resulting breathlessness may progress to respiratory failure (and death).

3. Pleural Plaques - 

the Pleura is the thin double-layered membrane which separates the lungs from the inside of the chest wall. A film of liquid between the two layers provides lubrication to allow smooth movement during breathing. The membrane also prevents the lungs rubbing directly against the inside of the rib cage and causing 'wearing' damage to the lungs. 

Plaques are the scar tissue calcification (thickening or fibrosis) caused by the mechanical action of the sharp asbestos fibres to the lung tissue during the  movements caused by breathing.

Pleural Plaques is irreversible and untreatable damage to the membrane between the lungs and the chest wall.

4. Mesothelioma - a benign or malignant tumour (a type of cancer) of the Mesothelium (lining cells) of the Pleura.

Mesothelium occurs in the Peritoneum, Pleura and Pericardium.

Pleural mesotheliomas are associated with the inhalation of asbestos dust.

ANYONE who has been exposed to the inhalation of asbestos fibres is at risk of developing each and any of the 'stages' of the conditions which I have briefly explained above.

All of these things appear to be influenced, to one degree or another, by a number of other factors.

1. Cigarette smoking appears to have a 'synergistic' (co-operative or increasing) effect upon the damage done to the human body by inhaled asbestos fibres.

2. The genetic make-up of the individual. It is possible for two individuals to be exposed to exactly the same environmental factors. One may die prematurely as a result of the exposure and the other may be either virtually unaffected or may develop one or more of 
the conditions above.

3. Exposure to a combination of asbestos fibres.

A combination of both Crocidolite (blue) and Chrysotile (white) asbestos fibres appears to have a synergistic effect upon the human lung tissue.

Combinations of Crocidolite and Chrysotile asbestos fibres were commonly used in industry 
for the manufacture of asbestos fencing sheets (Super Six) and the 'lagging' of a variety of 
industrial pipes - including air conditioning ducts.
Are you "still procrastinating" ?

If you served in the Navy, my advice to you is DON'T procrastinate (delay, put off, hesitate) any longer!

Get yourself checked out NOW.

You owe it to your wives and families.

I wish all of you the best of luck.

Very kind regards to all,

Graham MacLeod TIP (OSHA Inspector, retired)

Legal Liaison Officer
Veterans and Pensioners Advocacy
Western Australia

"The TRUTH would become more popular if it
were not always stating ugly facts."
~ Henry S. Haskins, American author.

Found in Mousies medical records
This is an Adobe file all about Hearing Services and Aids available to us
Here is the list of Pharmacy Medications available to Gold Card Veterans - but let me say that when you go to your doctor make sure you take the list with you as he/she may not be aware of all these medications being available to Veterans and then when you get to your Chemist he/she may have to order them in....... 


Repatriation Benefits List

( The following is a list of products, that are available on a Doctors prescription, for Gold Card Repatriation Patients

Skin Care

Sorbolene and Glycerine Cream, Calmurid Cream, Pinetarsol Solution

Hair Care

Sebitar Shampoo, Sebi Rinse Conditioner, Nizoral Shampoo, Selsun

Sun Care

 15+ Cream, Lotion, and Solarstick, Ego Sun Sense 30+, Aquasun.

Oral Hygiene

Savacol Aquae Spray for Dry mouth


Telfast, Claratyne, Zyrtec, Phenergan, Drixine Nasal Spray, Beconase Nasal Spray, Rhincort Nasal Spray, Sudafed, Demazin Tablets

Cough Mixtures

Senagar & Ammonia, Durotuss

Fibre Supplements & Laxatives

Nucolox, Normacol, Metamucil, Coloxyl with Senna, Senokot, Glycerine Suppositories.


Micropore Tape, Cutilfilm Plus Waterproof Dressings, Melolin Dressings, Handy Banages, Cotton Wool, Betadine Antiseptic, Solugels, Barrier Creams, Disposable Gloves, Prantal Powder.

Antifungal Agents

Lamasil cream, Canesten Cream, Loceryl Nail Paint

Haemorroidal Treatments

Proctocedyl Ointment & Suppositories, Anusol.

Ear Preparations

Ear Clear for Wax, Waxsol, Ceromol Ear Drops

Vitamins & Minerals

Calcium  sup Tablets, Caltrate), Vitamin B1 (Betamin), Magnesium Tablets (Mag-Min), Accomin Liquid Tonic

Joint Pain & Arthritis

Metsal Cream or Liniment,

Arthro-Aid (Glucosamine).

Sexual Health

Viagra, Cialis, Caverject


Asprins - Cartia, Astrix Capsules, Cardiprin, Paracetamol, Ibuprofen

Weight Loss

Optifast, Xenical.


Nicorette Patches (Quit Smoking), Vermox Ural Sachets (Urinary Alkalinizer)

* Always check with your GP, as this list changes from time to time. ( You could have been paying full price for any of these items without realising you could have them on prescription. Remember after your 56 prescriptions per annum, your prescriptions are free.)


                                                        URGENT AND DEADLY

If you served in the Navy in the 60’s and 70’s you have potentially been exposed to ASBESTOS.

Some years ago we Veterans in that risk category were advised to have annual Chest X-rays to monitor our health in relation to this insidious disease.

Recently I was advised that 2 Members of our Association (both ex Stokers) who have been having regular Chest X-rays have recently  been diagnosed with Asbestosis and one in particularly has full blown mesothelioma. Both had recent Chest X-Rays which showed up nothing at all.

Being smarter than the average Jolly Jack they had A Deep Image Scan done of the Chest and Abdomen which resulted in the discovery of this insidious disease.

On hearing the dreadful news I rang DVA and tried to enquire how to go about getting an accurate Test done i.e. Deep Image Scan and who should I go to for this Test.

I was put on to about 6 different people who either had no idea what I was talking about or  had been instructed to be very vague about the subject.

In the first instance they did not even want to know me because I do not have a DVA File Number and then when the message eventually got through that I was not trying to get anything other than information from them they suggested I should contact the Dust Diseases Board?, Health Service Australia and my local Doctor to get a referral for a Chest X-Ray.

Further advice was that they would NOT fund any  tests/medicals but if it was discovered that I had any disease that I thought might be related to service in Ships then I should lodge a claim with them for consideration.

I have since found out from Defence sources that you can contact the ADF Asbestos Call Centre on 1800 000 655 to register and that they would send out some paper work.

I have since received that paperwork and it only gives a brief overview of Asbestos and a telephone number to contact for testing in each State. 

I rang the number in Victoria today to find out that they do not even give you a Chest X-Ray unless you fail the spirometry (lung capacity) test.

I further enquired if they recommended CT Scan’s and the reply was only if they thought there were any concerns after having a Chest X- Ray and then very rarely.


Marty GROGAN, Special Projects Officer.  HMAS SYDNEY & V.L.S.V.A. (VIC)

To: [email protected]
Subject: Prostate Cancer
Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2008 15:59:27 +1000
From: [email protected]
The following email is a MUST read. it is long but it is in your interest to read & then do something about it. In the last 3 months I have had 4 ex Navy people tell me they have prostrate cancer & all had a good blood test (PSA). I will also make up a 'SICK BAY page & have this item listed permanently.

Dear Kerry,

Could I send you this information to place on your web site for a period of time? I’ve only been made aware of your existence today and this new information must be as well disseminated as possible. It is so important for your members to be aware and choose to act if not for themselves, then their families. This is not an Army thing and applies equally to all who served in this conflict despite what others may have you believe. I was diagnosed and treated several years ago and am a survivor only because of early detection. Now that the medical evidence is there for all the world to see individual men must be prepared to act.

Kind regards,



PROSTATE CANCER and AGENT ORANGE.........the last word 
Dear Sir,

The article below is the largest and most accurate study to date and I believe will be the final word on the topic of prostate cancer in service personnel and their to exposure agent orange.
There should be no Vietnam Vet who goes untested in this country by the end of this year. Of the 58,000 or so who participated in that war, the number carrying cancerous prostates will be several thousand and they must be found and treated as there is no reason why they should die from that complaint if treated in time. Their deaths will be through shear neglect on our part or on their own; so it is imperative that no blame be laid at our door through a failure to notify those personnel so exposed. 

If some Veterans out there are sick of hearing about this matter and they have done nothing.....tough! 

This information is so hot off the press it has not yet appeared in official medical journals but will do so in the 15th September, ‘08 edition of CANCER. May I commend this article to you for publication as I believe it is the definitive study in this matter and imperative that our veteran population hears this news once again. 

Many Pension Officers around the country will be aware DVA has already accepted the link between the cancer and herbicidal exposure. What many do not appreciate is that this was done on statistical results, generously weighted in the veterans’ favour by the assessing panel. This new research now fully supports what was formerly only a high index of suspicion, regarding the connection between disease and herbicide. 

So my advice to every male who was in Vietnam, afloat or ashore, for whatever duration of time, go and have your LMO check your Prostate and seek a Prostate Specific Antigen blood test at the same time. This will need to be done for the remainder of your life at two yearly intervals or as professionally advised. No buts just do it!




RSL NSW State Vice President (Southern Country)
RAN Medical Officer (Rtd) 
Tel 02-93808774
Mob. 0417604450  

PS. The term metastatic disease means that the cancer has spread beyond the prostate into bone, lung, liver. The prognosis in these cases is less than ideal; so we need to catch it earlier than this stage of development.

Exposure to Agent Orange linked to prostate cancer in
Vietnam veterans
Public release date: 5-Aug-2008
Contact: Karen Finney
[email protected]
REFERENCE: University of California Davis Health System

SACRAMENTO, Calif.)( — UC Davis Cancer Centre physicians today released
results of research showing that Vietnam War veterans exposed to Agent
Orange have greatly increased risks of prostate cancer and even greater
risks of getting the most aggressive form of the disease as compared to
those who were not exposed.

The findings, which appear online now and will be published in the September
15 issue of the journal Cancer, are the first to link the herbicide with this form of
cancer. The research is also the first to utilize a large population of men in their
60s and the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test to screen for the disease.
'While others have linked Agent Orange to cancers such as soft-tissue sarcomas,
Hodgkin's disease and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, there is limited evidence so far
associating it with prostate cancer,' said Karim Chamie, lead author of the study
and resident physician with the UC Davis Department of Urology and the VA
Northern California Health Care System. 'Here we report on the largest study to
date of Vietnam War veterans exposed to Agent Orange and the incidence of
prostate cancer.'

Chamie also said that, unlike previous studies that were either too small or conducted on men who were too young, patients in the current study were entering their prime years for developing prostate cancer. There was also the added advantage that it was conducted entirely during the era of PSA screening, providing a powerful tool for early diagnosis and tracking of prostate cancer.

More than 13,000 Vietnam veterans enrolled in the VA Northern California Health Care System were stratified into two groups — exposed or not exposed to Agent Orange between 1962 and 1971. Based on medical evaluations conducted
between 1998 and 2006, the study revealed that twice as many men exposed to
Agent Orange were identified with prostate cancer. In addition, Agent Orange exposed
men were diagnosed two-and-a-half years younger and were nearly four times more likely to present with metastatic disease. Other prostate cancer risk factors — race, body-mass index and smoking — were not statistically different between the two groups.

'Our country's veterans deserve the best possible health care, and this study
clearly confirms that Agent Orange exposure during service in Vietnam is
associated with a higher risk of prostate cancer later in life,' said Ralph de Vere
White, UC Davis Cancer Centre director and a study co-author. 'Just as those with
a family history of prostate cancer or who are of African-American heritage are
screened more frequently, so too should men with Agent Orange exposure be
given priority consideration for all the screening and diagnostic tools we have at
our disposal in the hopes of early detection and treatment of this disease.'
Now a banned chemical, Agent Orange is a combination of two synthetic
compounds known to be contaminated with the dioxin tetrachlorodibenzo-paradioxin
(TCDD) during the manufacturing process. Named for the colour of the
barrel in which it was stored, Agent Orange was one of many broad-leaf
defoliants used in Vietnam to destroy dense forests in order to better visualize
enemy activity.

It is estimated that more than 20 million gallons of the chemicals, also known as
'rainbow herbicides,' were sprayed between 1962 and 1971, contaminating
both ground cover and ground troops. Most of the rainbow herbicide used
during this time was Agent Orange. In 1997, the International Agency for
Research on Cancer reclassified TCDD as a group 1 carcinogen, a classification
that includes arsenic, asbestos and gamma radiation.

The study was funded by the UC Davis Cancer Centre. In addition to Chamie and
De Vere White, study authors were Bryan Volpp, associate chief of staff, clinical
informatics, VA Northern California Health Care System; Dennis Lee and Joonha
Ok, UC Davis resident physicians with the Department of Urology; and Lars Ellison
who, at the time the study was conducted, was an assistant professor with UC Davis
and chief of urology with the VA Northern California Health Care System. Ellison is
now affiliated with the Penobscot Bay Medical Centre in Maine and a major in the
U.S. Army Reserve currently serving active duty in Iraq. A copy of the study can be
requested by emailing Amy Molnar at [email protected].

Prostate cancer is the second most common malignancy and the second leading
cause of cancer death in American men. It is estimated that there will be about
186,320 new cases of prostate cancer in the United States in 2008 and about
28,660 men will die of the disease this year.

Designated by the National Cancer Institute, UC Davis Cancer Centre is leading the
way in identifying the molecular pathogenesis of carcinoma of the prostate,
enhancing therapeutic response and identifying chemoprevention. For more

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Seems Asbestosis is becoming more prevalent amongst Servicemen who served during the earlier days when it was used in lagging etc... have asked me to provide links to their information... click the links below for everything you ever needed to know about this insidious disease...

Mesothelioma Cancer                                  Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma Fund

For those needing legal assistance I received the following

Hi Midge,

I noticed that you posted a link to on your site. My site,, is similar in that we offer comprehensive asbestos and mesothelioma information, but with an emphasis on the legal options available to asbestos victims and their families.

The legal options available to asbestos victims are of the utmost importance, so that victims and their families can pay for medical expenses and receive compensation for the pain and suffering they endure. 

Please consider helping us spread our information by posting a link on your site to