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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 2014

Autumn 2014

UCLA Public Health Magazine - In Safer Hands

November 15, 2014

SFGate - DanceFAR charity event keeps S.F. Ballet alumni on their toes

November 12, 2014

Health Analytics - Ethnicity Plays Important Role in Population Health Management

October 29, 2014

EmaxHealth - Why Obesity Increases Risk of Breast Cancer in Certain Women

October 23, 2014

Healthline - Ancient Gene Mutation Reduces Breast Cancer Risk in Some Latina Women by 80 Percent

October 20, 2014

SFGate - Genetic Variant Helps Protect Latinas From Breast Cancer

October 18, 2014

Marin independent Journal - Marin Voice: Looking for answers to Marin's higher melanoma rate

October 6, 2014

KPCC Radio -Questions Raised About When to Choose Double Mastectomy

October 2014

EPA Science Matters Newsletter - Healthier Nail Salons

September 3, 2014

Los Angeles Times - Study: More Breast Cancer Patients Should Keep Their Healthy Breasts

September 3, 2014

French Tribune - Women Opting for Bilateral Mastectomies Can Still Have Risks of Having Cancer

September 3, 2014

CBS News Pittsburgh - Study Shows Double Mastectomy may be Unnecessary with Single Breast Cancer Diagnosis

September 3, 2014

South China Morning Post - Double Mastectomies Not Beneficial for Breast Cancer Patients

September 3, 2014

Wall Street Journal - Video: Double Mastectomy Doesn't Boost Survival for Most

September 2, 2014

Wall Street Journal - Double Mastectomy Doesn't Boost Survival for Most

September 2, 2014

KQED California Report - Stanford Study: Double Mastectomies Don't Increase Breast Cancer Survival Rate

September 2, 2014

NBC News - Double Mastectomy Doesn't Boost Breast Cancer Survival

September 2, 2014

CBS News - Double Mastectomy Doesn't Boost Survival for Most Patients

September 2, 2014

ABC News Los Angeles - Double Mastectomy May Not Increase Chance of Survival

September 2, 2014

The Daily Mail - Double Mastectomy Doesn't Boost Chance of Surviving Cancer: Women Who Have Less Drastic Surgery Live Just as Long

September 2, 2014

Washington Post - Double Mastectomy Doesn't Boost Survival for Most

September 2, 2014

Atlanta Journal Constitution - Double Mastectomy Doesn't Boost Survival for Most

September 2, 2014

Women's Health - New Research Says Double Mastectomy Doesn't Improve Rate of Survival

September 2, 2014

HealthDay - Double Mastectomy Doesn't Improve Survival, Study Finds

September 2, 2014

Bloomberg News - Double Mastectomy Rise Doesn't Boost Survival Rate

September 2, 2014

San Francisco Chronicle - Double Mastectomy May Not Be Best Choice For Survival, Study Says

September 2, 2014

Associated Press National News - Double Mastectomy Doesn't Boost Survival for Most

September 2, 2014

National Public Radio - Double Mastectomies Don't Yield Expected Results, Study Finds

August 20, 2014

The ASCO Post - Survival of Patients With a Common Lymphoma Is Worse Among Those With Low Income

August 7, 2014

San Francisco Business Journal - People on the Move | Donna Randall, Ph.D.

August 7, 2014

San Francisco Business Journal - People on the Move | Marianne Jackson

August 7, 2014

San Francisco Business Journal - People on the Move | Joy Boatwright

August 6, 2014

Silicon Valley Business Journal - People on the Move | Donna Randall, Ph.D.

August 6, 2014

Silicon Valley Business Journal - People on the Move | Marianne Jackson

August 6, 2014

Silicon Valley Business Journal - People on the Move | Joy Boatwright

July 31, 2014

Point Reyes Light - Marin tops region for skin cancer rates

July 28, 2014

KQED Radio - Disproportionate Rates of Melanoma Found in Marin County

July 24, 2014

Stanford Scope - Melanoma rates exceed rates of lung cancer in some areas

July 23, 2014

KRCB - Melanoma Rates Highest in Marin, Sonoma Counties

July 23, 2014

SF Chronicle - Marin County melanoma risk 60 percent higher than state total

July 23, 2014

KGO Radio - Study: Skin Cancer Diagnoses Up Nearly 200 Percent for 65+ in Marin County

July 23, 2014

SFGate - Marin County melanoma risk 60 percent higher than state total

July 23, 2014

Marin Independent Journal - Marin reports elevated incidence of deadly skin cancer

July 23, 2014

Novato Patch - Melanoma Cases Soar in Marin County

July 23, 2014

marincounty.org - Report Shows Elevation in Marin Melanoma Rates

July 18, 2014

capitol public radio - Insight: Capitol Chat / Gold Mining and Breast Cancer / Johnny Winter / Matt Schofield "As Far As I Can See"

July 17, 2014

India West - South Asian Women Asked to Join Breast Cancer Study

June 11, 2014

SFGate - Probe finds no evidence of higher cancer rates on Treasure Island

June 5, 2014

Digital Journal - Obesity, High BMI, and Hormonal Disorders Are Among the Risk Factors for Male Breast Cancer, Researchers at NCI and CPIC Confirm

May 2014

The Skin Cancer Foundation Journal - Why is Melanoma Deadlier for Young Men than Young Women

May 20, 2014

Tri-City Voice - Fremont Bank Foundation celebrates its birthday in a million ways

May 20, 2014

EmaxHealth - Thyroid Cancer Is Rising But Who Knows Why?

May 19, 2014

capitol public radio - Study: Increase In Thyroid Cancer Likely Linked To Environment, Behavior

May 19, 2014

SFGate - Sharp Rise in Thyroid Cancer Linked to Modifiable Behavioral or Environmental Factors, CPIC Study Finds

May 12-18, 2014

Alice Radio FM 97.3 - 40th Anniversary: Pioneering Prevention radio promo

May 6, 2014

CancerScope - Smoke signals: Evidence grows in tobacco's effects on cancer patients

April 15, 2014

The ASCO Post - Determining Why Younger Women With Breast Cancer Are Less Likely to Survive Than Their Older Counterparts

April 3, 2014

inside Bay Area - Fremont Bank donates $10,000 to cancer prevention institute

April 3, 2014

San Jose Mercury News - Fremont Bank donates $10,000 to cancer prevention institute

March 19, 2014

Digital Journal - Traditional Chinese Medicine Providers are Valuable Resource for Colorectal Cancer Screening Information, According to Recent Findings by CPIC Researcher and Colleagues

March 7, 2014

89.3 KPCC Southern California Public Radio - In Vietnamese nail salons, a push to breathe easier

February 28, 2014

San Jose Mercury - Fremont health organization to hold conference on breast cancer Saturday

February 18, 2014

OncLive - Genetic Analysis of Remote Population May Advance Breast Cancer Prevention and Treatment

February 11, 2014

seattle pi - Dr. Iona Cheng of CPIC Receives Honor for Research on Obesity Genetics

February 11, 2014

DigitalJournal.com - Dr. Iona Cheng of CPIC Receives Honor for Research on Obesity Genetics

February 11, 2014

Houston Chronicle - Dr. Iona Cheng of CPIC Receives Honor for Research on Obesity Genetics

January 10, 2014

DigitalJournal.com - Why Are Young Breast Cancer Patients More Likely to Die from Their Disease? Researchers at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California Find Answers