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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.

CPIC in the News 2013

Fall 2013

Synthesis - Hunting Genes - Isolated village offers cancer clues

December 9, 2013

ecancernews - Cigarette smoking after cancer diagnosis increases risk of death

December 6, 2013

Health Day - Men Who Smoke After Cancer Diagnosis Face Higher Death Risk

December 6, 2013

The Oncology Report - Continued smoking after cancer diagnosis ups mortality risk

December 6, 2013

MSN Healthy Living - Men Who Smoke After Cancer Diagnosis Face Higher Death Risk

November 24, 2013

Journal & Courier - Purdue aids global breast cancer effort

November 11, 2013

Chicago Tribune - Poorer women with a breast lump may wait to see doctor

November 7, 2013

Digital Journal - Scientists at Cancer Prevention Institute of California Find That a Diet High in Fruits and Vegetables May Significantly Reduce Risk of Breast Cancer

October 27, 2013

Alice@97.3 - Get In Front Dance Performance To Benefit Cancer Prevention Institute Of California

October 20, 2013

San Jose Mercury News - Making a difference

October 20, 2013

TwinCities.com - Breast cancer: Researchers are studying girls to help cure the disease

October 18, 2013

The Berkshire Eagle - How an 8-year-old can help cure breast cancer

October 17, 2013

Susan G. Komen - Voices of Impact – Dr. Anna Wu / Dr. Iona Cheng

October 17, 2013

The Salt Lake Tribune - Healthy Utah girls help science pursue a breast cancer mystery

October 17, 2013

San Jose Mercury News - How an 8-year-old could help cure breast cancer

October 17, 2013

Daily Democrat - How an 8-year-old could help cure breast cancer

October 12, 2013

India-West - Vietnamese Americans, Exposed To Agent Orange, Suffer In Silence

October 2013

Connections - 10th Annual Breast Cancer Conference

September 15, 2013

New America Media - Vietnamese Americans, Exposed to Agent Orange, Suffer in Silence

September 16, 2013

Highbrow Magazine - Vietnamese-Americans and the Lingering, Deadly Shadow of Agent Orange

September 10, 2013

San Jose Mercury News - Seminar series aiming to help medical caregivers to begin Thursday at Stanford

July 29, 2013

Asian Scientist Magazine - First Major Study Of Cancer Incidence In Asian Americans

July 27, 2013

HealthCanal.com - USC researchers examine cancer incidence

July 26, 2013

USC News - USC researchers examine cancer incidence

July 25, 2013

Keck School of Medicine of USC - USC researchers examine cancer incidence among Asian-Americans, Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders

July 23, 2013

KGO 810 News - Over Half of Asian-American Population Part of Major Cancer Study

July 23, 2013

Cleveland.com - California researchers analyze cancer trends among Asian-American groups in U.S.

July 22, 2013

Food Consumer - Cancer Stats for Asian American Population

April 2, 2013

Ventura County Star - Ventura County death rates rank favorably for many health conditions

March 18, 2013

The Miami Herald - Men: Don’t ignore lump in your breast

February 26, 2013

CBS SF Bay Area - HealthWatch: Younger Women Increasingly Diagnosed With Deadly Breast Cancer

February 24, 2013

NBC News - EPA findings at toxic California Superfund site concern area residents

February 19, 2013

KQED (Forum with Michael Krasny) - Study Links Alcohol to Cancer Deaths

February 1, 2013

World Bulletin - Lumpectomy survival rates good for early breast cancer: study

January 29, 2013

Duke Chronicle - Duke research finds less invasive surgery linked to higher cancer survival

January 29, 2013

Huffington Post - Deep-Fried Foods Associated With Higher Prostate Cancer Risk

January 28, 2013

Duke Medicine News and Communications - Less Invasive Treatment is Associated with Improved Survival in Early Stage Breast Cancer

January 28, 2013

ScienceDaily - Less Invasive Treatment Is Associated With Improved Survival in Early Stage Breast Cancer

January 28, 2013

CBS News - Less is more? New study indicates less invasive treatment may yield better results for breast cancer patients

January 28, 2013

Digital Journal - Less Invasive Treatment is Associated with Improved Survival in Early Stage Breast Cancer

January 5, 2013

San Jose Mercury News - Breast cancer: Studies under way to determine why Bay Area communities have high rates