LISA Peachey hates the C-word. The Lemon Tree Passage woman last year farewelled five of her friends who had fought bowel, breast and lung cancer, and countless others in years before that.
"I don't have enough fingers and toes to give you a number," she said.
"It breaks my heart. You feel absolutely useless.
"You can only keep your guard up for so long before you have to stop and have a cry."
Ms Peachey has organised a barefoot bowls event at Club Lemon Tree on Sunday to raise money for actor Samuel Johnson's Love Your Sister charity, which funds cancer research.
Entry is free but attendees will be invited to buy raffle tickets and donate what they can.
"It's a reminder for everyone to get checked," she said.
"Never be shy to ask your doctor if something doesn't seem right.
"If this encourages just one person to get checked and they find cancer at stage one and survive, that's a great outcome."
Ms Peachey is dedicating the event to former Novocastrian Craig Coombes, who is fighting cancer and established the Nakedtuesday Facebook page, which encourages others to break out of their comfort zones.
"His Mum got very sick and he moved to Melbourne and nursed her for 23 years," she said.
"He was a nurse and paramedic.
"You think 'Cancer, really, this person? He has paid his dues'.
"But it's not just him - everyone has a story, but unfortunately the destination for many of them is the same."
Ms Peachey, who moved to the Tilligerry Peninsula around 2000, said it seemed everyone in the area had either had cancer or knew someone who has or had the disease.
"The half a dozen who haven't we call them unicorns, because it is so rare that a person does not come into contact with it in their lifetime," she said.
"There's no degree of separation here.
"Cancer has enveloped the peninsula. There's a cloud there, even when the sun is out.
"When I'm on my balcony and look next door that family has been affected, people on the other side of them buried their father three months ago.
"Across the road is a man battling leukaemia and two doors up another is battling prostate cancer.
"In greater society it's a given that cancer exists. But in a small community it surrounds you."
She said neighbours looked out for and drove each other to appointments.
The Newcastle Herald has previously reported 50 cases of cancer in 15 years along Cabbage Tree Road, where residents are concerned about PFAS contamination from the Williamtown RAAF base.
The Tiligerry Peninsula starts at Salt Ash, part of the Williamtown Management Area where residents are urged to follow advice to minimise exposure to PFAS.
"There is a correlation for sure," she said.