Vietnamese American Cancer Foundation provides lifeline to patients – NBC Los Angeles

A Fountain Valley community organization is providing care and support for Vietnamese Americans who are battling cancer, especially those who may be afraid of a possible stigma of being “imperfect.”

The Vietnamese American Cancer Foundation, which was founded in 1998, provides groceries, cancer treatment information and peer-to-peer support groups to patients, including those whose preferred language is Vietnamese. 

It’s no surprise when many of them do not get or seek support due to the social stigma, patients get emotional as they express gratitude for the nonprofit.

“I know that’s a good organization. When I come, they help me” Danny Do with stage 4 stomach cancer said while holding back tears.  

Although cancer is the leading cause of death among Asian Americans, they are least likely to be screened for the illness compared to other ethnic groups.

Becky Nguyen, the executive director of the foundation, said many Vietnamese community members are faced with a lack of support because of the prejudice that blames cancer victims.

“There’s a thought in our culture that this is karma that you must have done something really bad,” Nguyen said. 

Battling cancer can be especially more isolating for many older Vietnamese cancer patients, especially if their family members are thousands of miles away in Vietnam.

“People shun themselves,” Paul Hoang, the founder and president of Moving Forward Psychological Institute, said. “They don’t want to share or open up that they have an issue or need help so that isolations make their conditions worse.”

Officials with the Vietnamese American Cancer Foundation encouraged anyone regardless of race, ethnicity, social status or ability to pay to reach out for free services, including cancer education and support programs.

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