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  • We envision a world free from cancer.

    Our research scientists and their teams collaborate with colleagues around the world to conduct cutting-edge research using large data-sets to:
    • understand the causes of cancer
    • find ways to prevent it or detect it early
    • improve outcomes for cancer survivors 
  • Our mission began more than 40 years ago.

    Established in 1974 as the Northern California Cancer Program, the organization later became known as the Northern California Cancer Center. The name was changed again in 2010 when it became the Cancer Prevention Institute of California (CPIC), which reflects the organization's broader scope and demonstrates its large scale impact of preventing cancer before it starts.
  • We are an independent research institute and a valued partner to many.

    Through its collaborative approach, CPIC also serves as an asset to the nation’s leading cancer fighting organizations, including the National Cancer Institute, and to scientists worldwide, educators, patients, and clinicians, and is affiliated with the Stanford Cancer Institute.
  • We work hard to understand who gets cancer and why.

    Our scientists are frequent contributors to major scientific journals, and often present their findings at important cancer-related conferences. CPIC research has been covered by numerous local, national and international media outlets, such as The New York Times and The Washington Post.
  • Every case of cancer counts…and is counted.

    CPIC operates the Greater Bay Area Cancer Registry as part of the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results program and the California Cancer Registry. As required by law, the registry gathers data from hospitals and doctors on all cancers diagnosed and treated in nine Bay Area counties. This information is used to produce cancer statistics and as a platform for research to understand cancer occurrences and survival. Our registry regularly earns Gold Standard Certification by the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries.
  • Our educational efforts reach people of all ethnicities and backgrounds.

    Our Community Education team provides important information to cancer survivors, health professionals and others through conferences and publications on many cancer-related topics including employment, patient advocacy, care giving, specific cancers, and treatments.

  • Breast cancer rates decline when hormone therapy is stopped.

    CPIC was first to report on the alarmingly high and increasing rates of breast cancer in the Bay Area and Marin County in the 1990s. In subsequent studies, CPIC found that when women stopped taking hormone replacement therapy, breast cancer rates declined immediately and dramatically. This showed that hormone therapy was a major contributor to the high rates previously reported and identified one clear path to breast cancer prevention.
  • Our work to associate tanning beds and melanoma prompted legislation.

    CPIC described increased occurrence of melanoma in young women in California, particularly in high socioeconomic areas, implicating use of tanning beds as one cause. This finding led to passage of the first statewide legislation to ban minors from using tanning beds, which should ultimately reduce occurrences of deadly melanoma in young persons.
  • Physical activity lowers your risk of Breast Cancer

    CPIC found that risk of breast cancer was lower for women engaging in more physical activity, such as walking and biking, doing household chores and yard work, and being active on the job. This shows a simple and practical way women can help prevent breast cancer from occurring.
  • Second-hand smoke increases the risk of lung and breast cancer.

    CPIC studies have shown that women exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke have a higher risk of lung cancer even if they don't smoke, and that exposure to household smoke increases their risk of breast cancer over and above the risk they incur from smoking themselves. These findings have been important in leading to anti-smoking legislation.
  • Vitamin D may reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

    CPIC assessed whether sun exposure, which is the main source of vitamin D, is related to prostate cancer risk. Using the difference in skin color measured on the forehead and upper underarm as an indicator of sun exposure, the study found that prostate cancer risk was reduced by 50% in men with a high sun exposure index, with an even higher reduction in risk noted in men with certain alterations in the vitamin D receptor gene.
  • Survival outcomes differ among Asian women of different ethnic backgrounds.

    CPIC was the first to show that breast cancer survival is not uniform across women of different Asian ethnicities, irrespective of how advanced the cancer was when diagnosed. In California, Korean, South Asian and Vietnamese women had the poorest survival after breast cancer, pointing to the need in these communities for better screening and/or breast cancer treatment.
  • Melanoma is on the rise throughout California.

    CPIC demonstrated that the rates of both early and more advanced melanomas were rising in all populations in California. This disturbing finding signals a true and alarming epidemic of this deadly cancer, and it has been cited over 245 times in the medical literature since 2009 because it identifies a major public health problem.
  • Survival disparities occur across many cancer types.

    CPIC showed that survival after follicular lymphoma, a common form of this cancer, is lower in poorer communities than in more affluent communities. This demonstrates population disparities in cancer treatment and shows a need in poorer communities for more access to skilled lymphoma care, including access to new successful drug treatments.
  • Our nail salon studies have widespread positive impact.

    CPIC found that California nail salons had higher than expected levels of carcinogens and other banned substances in the air, identifying the need for better standards and the importance of clarifying whether such exposures lead to cancer and other undesirable health outcomes.
  • Tailored approaches to healthcare are needed to address cultural differences.

    CPIC used two approaches to learn how best to help Vietnamese communities in California receive lifesaving colorectal cancer screening: one approach involved lay health workers directly educating the community on the importance of screening, and the other involved advertising about colorectal cancer screening. CPIC found that the use of lay health workers worked best to improve the screening rate, proving that organized community involvement improves colorectal screening practices among Vietnamese-Americans in California.
  • Lung cancer afflicts nonsmoking women more than men.

    CPIC was the first to show definitively that among nonsmokers, women were more likely than men to have lung cancer. Until this paper, there were no hard data about the incidence of lung cancer in nonsmokers. This study has been cited extensively as motivation for other research to understand the reasons why.
  • Genetic screening is especially important for African American and Hispanic women.

    CPIC was the first to study the level of BRCA1 mutations (genetic changes responsible for increased risk of breast cancer) in nonwhite women. This work found that young African American and Hispanic women with breast cancer had a particularly high prevalence of BRCA1 mutations, and signaled the importance to these communities and their doctors of screening for this mutation when indicated.

Scientific Advisory Board

Scientific Advisory Board

The CPIC Scientific Advisory Board, comprised of a highly respected panel of advisors from academia, business and the medical community, provide strategic guidance to CPIC in the areas of scientific research, investigator competitions, and grant programs.

Robert Haile, Dr.P.H.

Professor, Stanford University
Robert Haile

Dr. Robert W. Haile has served on CPIC’s Scientific Advisory Board since 2016. He is a professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Oncology at the Stanford University School of Medicine and the Associate Director for Population Sciences at the Stanford Cancer Institute. Dr. Haile has over 30 years of experience conducting genetic epidemiology studies of cancer, including several large, international, multi-institutional studies of breast and colorectal cancer. He serves as Contact PI of the Colon Cancer Family Registry, which includes 23 institutions and seven major centers in the US, Canada, and Australia. Previously, he served on the advisory committee for the Breast Cancer Family Registry. Dr. Haile also founded and directs the Latin American Cancer Epidemiology consortium and co-founded and co-directs the International Mismatch Repair Consortium, which includes more than 160 investigators in 63 centers in 23 countries devoted to research on Lynch syndrome. He has over 275 publications in cancer epidemiology. 

Dr. Haile earned his masters of public health and doctorate of public health degrees at the University of California, Los Angeles and then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Oxford University.

Chris Holsinger, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Professor and chief of head and neck surgery, Stanford University 
Chris Holsinger

Chris Holsinger has served on CPIC’s Scientific Advisory Board since 2016. He is professor and chief of head and neck surgery at Stanford University Medical Center and leads the multidisciplinary head and neck oncology program at the Stanford Cancer Center. Holsinger’s surgical practice focuses on the surgical management of benign and malignant diseases of the thyroid, as well as head and neck cancers. Previously, Holsinger worked at the department of head and neck surgery at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Holsinger's research focuses on surgical innovation, clinical trials, and genomics. He leads several prospective clinical trials through National Cancer Institute-funded cooperative groups. 

Holsinger received his medical degree from Vanderbilt University. He completed his internships and residency at Baylor College and his fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Holsinger is a member of numerous societies including the American College of Surgeons, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the American Head and Neck Society.

Ann M. Lowe, M.D.

Clinical research and development consultant 
Ann M. Lowe

Ann M. Lowe has served on CPIC’s Scientific Advisory Board since 2016. She has been actively involved in drug development for over 25 years and a clinical research and development consultant for over 20 years.  

Lowe began her career as a clinical research physician at Genentech. Later, she served as director of clinical research for the Becton Dickinson Monoclonal Center, the Antiviral and Immunology Group at Syntex and as medical director for Scios Nova. Over her career she has contributed to the clinical development and regulatory strategy for a number of key biotechnology products including Activase, Rituxan, Herceptin, Avastin, Naglazyme, Aldurazyme, and Doxil.

Lowe received her bachelor degree in biology and chemistry from Lawrence University and her medical degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She completed her internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of Kansas, Kansas City, and a fellowship in hematology and oncology at the University of California, San Francisco.

Electra Paskett, Ph.D., M.S.P.H.

Professor of Cancer Research, Ohio State University
Electra Paskett

Electra D. Paskett has served on CPIC’s Scientific Advisory Board since 2016. She is director of of the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, a professor in the Division of Epidemiology, associate director for population sciences and program leader of the Cancer Control Program at Ohio State University. Paskett is also director of the Center for Cancer Health Equity at the James Cancer Hospital.
She is the principal investigator of the Ohio Patient Navigator Research Program and involved with the Cancer Survivor Cohort at the Women’s Health Initiative. 

Paskett was elected as a fellow to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2004. She is a past-president of the American Society of Preventive Oncology, deputy editor of the journal Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, and section editor of Cancer. She has published over 260 peer-reviewed publications showcasing her work in cancer prevention, early detection and survivorship issues specifically among underserved populations. 

Paskett received her doctorate in epidemiology from the University of Washington.