The Chinese Cancer and Chronic Illness Society of Victoria(CCCIS), formerly Chinese Cancer Society of Victoria(CCSV), came into being as one of the Cancer Council Victoria’s support groups. It was founded by a social worker, Dorothy Yiu OAM JP (current President), in response to a request from the Cancer Council Victoria to address an urgent need for culturally and linguistically appropriate services for Chinese people who have been touched by cancer. Over the years, more cancer survivors and volunteers joined the Society to offer support to others. CCSV has evolved from a small support group that conducted monthly peer meetings to an extensive information and support service for people affected by cancer.
In January 2018, the Society has changed its legal name to Chinese Cancer and Chronic Illness Society of Victoria with the aim to expand its services to support other chronic illness sufferers such as Parkinson’s and Alzeimer’s Diseases.
A lack of understanding in mainstream hospitals and health services as well as cultural differences in perceiving chronic illnesses such as cancer, mental illness and Parkinson’s Disease can sometimes create barriers for Chinese patients who need to avail of mainstream services. CCCIS has come across cases where Chinese speaking chronic illness sufferers shy away from seeking help due to language difficulties. Moreover, socio-cultural practices such as the need to “save face” in order to avoid being labelled as “people with problems”, or the stigma of being “a burden to others” have kept people away from seeking help. There are also instances of misconceptions about “being punished” for ones’ deeds – which create complex problems in the patient’s mind. Taking into account these cultural and language issues, pressures associated with some chronic illnesses such as cancer can really become insurmountable.
Keeping these issues in mind, the Society is committed to provide information and support where chronic illness sufferers and their carers can access services in a user-friendly environment, support each other in an atmosphere where they can talk in their own language and share their experiences openly. CCCIS has successfully established a much needed support network to enhance the well-being of Chinese people in Victoria, whose lives are impacted by chronic illness.
The Society will continue to develop and deliver more support services to meet the needs of the Chinese community in Victoria
The Society was awarded “Volunteer Group of the year 2011” by the Cancer Council Victoria and was also recipient of a meritorious award by the Victorian Multicultural Commission in 2006.
In 2014, Dorothy Yiu, the founder of CCCIS, received Cancer Council Victoria’s President’s Award and in 2016, awarded the Order of Australia(OAM) in recognition of her hard work.