Did you know?

  • Eighteen scientists and their teams 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 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Community Education team provides important information to cancer survivors, their families, health and medical professionals and others through conferences, publications and websites on many cancer-related topics including employment, patient advocacy, care giving, specific cancers, treatments and breakthroughs.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Get in Front Mother's Day Garden Brunch
15th Annual PlumpJack/LINK Golf Classic
16th Annual Oakland A's Strike Out Breast Cancer
40th Anniversary: Pioneering Prevention
Recent Events

Get in Front Mother's Day Garden Brunch

Sunday, May 4, 2014, from 11am to 1pm

Help CPIC Get in Front of Cancer by honoring the women in your life at a pre-Mother's Day brunch on Sunday, May 4, 2014, 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM, at a private home in Atherton, CA. The garden event is open to individuals and families, and includes a sumptuous brunch and a silent auction.

This event, to be held the Sunday prior to Mother's Day, offers an excellent opportunity to celebrate a special day twice while supporting CPIC's research to prevent cancer before it starts. The location information will be included in your registration confirmation.

To register for the event and purchase tickets, please click here. For information, please contact Sandi Farrell at or call at (510) 608-5003.

If you are unable to attend and would like to make a donation, visit here.

back to top

15th Annual PlumpJack/LINK Golf Classic

Monday, May 5, 2014, 9:30am

Lake Merced Gold & Country Club
2300 Junipero Serra Blvd.
Daly City, CA 94015

The Annual PlumpJack/LINK Golf Classic includes a full day of activities including breakfast, chipping & putting contest, 18-hole shotgun golf game, lunch, on-course activities throughout the day, cocktail reception, silent auction, dinner, live auction, entertainment and more. The Annual PlumpJack/LINK Golf Classic supports Community Education at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California (CPIC).

Click here for more information and to register

back to top

16th Annual Oakland A's Strike Out Breast Cancer

Sunday, May 11, 2014, Coliseum

We invite you to participate in a day-long celebration of survivorship that culminates in a special on-field, pregame ceremony honoring those who have courageiously battled breast cancer.

Check-in begins at 10:30 am
Pregame Ceremony begins at 12:00 pm
Oakland Athletics  vs  Washington National at 1:05 pm

To participate, you MUST register by calling the American Cancer Society hotline at (866) 287-7930 or online at by Friday, March 28th.  Additional details will be provided when you register.  Participate in past years event does not automatically register a survivor for this year.  Registration is for Breast Cancer Survivors and Breast Cancer Patients only.  SPACE IS LIMITED!

back to top

40th Anniversary: Pioneering Prevention

Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 6PM

Gap Inc. Headquarters, San Francisco

Over the past 40 years, CPIC has been dedicated to finding the knowledge needed to stop cancer from ever starting. We have much to celebrate as we look back at our accomplishments and forward to our future plans.

Click here for more information about the 40th Anniversary: Pioneering Prevention and to buy tickets.
back to top

Recent Events

CPIC and Stanford Cancer Institute jointly sponsored the 2014 Dee West Cancer Epidemiology Symposium held on the Stanford campus Monday, February 10th. The symposium attracted researchers from around the country to hear from experts in the field of population-based cancer registries. For information about this year’s symposium, please visit the symposium page:

The Role of Population-Based Cancer Registries in Cancer Prevention and Control: A Cells to Society Approach
back to top

Get Our Newsletter

Subscribe for updates on the latest CPIC research findings and programs.
Sign Up