Cancer: Asians and the Big C

If you’re a regular reader of 8Asians, you already know I lost both my parents to the big C – Cancer. Toan Lam writes this week in the Huffington Post about a phenomenon in the Asian community surrounding Cancer, specifically the inability of Asians to talk about Cancer and Cancer prevention. Lam details the loss of some of his closest family members and the impact it has on his family. He also describes how if he and his family could have talked more openly about Cancer, like issues around detection and early screening of sensitive topics like breast Cancer, it might have helped save the lives of some of his family members.

Lam is also the creator of a website,, designed to give voice to inspirational and uplifting stories that would otherwise not have a voice. He also writes about George Lin, former Program Director of the San Diego Asian Film Festival, whose loss to Cancer inspired the theme of this year’s recent film festival, Cancer Awareness. The video above from GoInspireGo discusses Lin, his Cancer, and the tributes paid to him during the Festival.

Lam’s goal is simple, all of us know someone whose life has been touched by Cancer. So in an effort to help prevent the pain and suffering of losing someone to Cancer, we need to break the silence — talk about Cancer, especially in the Asian community. Awareness and Early Detection could save lives. In my family, we didn’t find out about my dad’s cancer until it was already stage 4 (the last and most progressed stage), since he never wanted to see a doctor or talk about his pain. So spread the word and let’s help make it so one day when we talk about Cancer, we can replace the big C with a little c.

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About Tim

I'm a Chinese/Taiwanese-American, born in Taiwan, raised on Long Island, went to college in Philadelphia, tried Wall Street and then moved to the California Bay Area to work in high tech in 1990. I'm a recent dad and husband. Other adjectives that describe me include: son, brother, geek, DIYer, manager, teacher, tinkerer, amateur horologist, gay, and occasional couch potato. I write for about 5 different blogs including 8Asians. When not doing anything else, I like to challenge people's preconceived notions of who I should be.
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