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Did you know?

  • 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 2015

December 21, 2015

San Francisco Chronicle - SF Ballet, Paul Taylor Dance among best of dance 2015

December 10, 2015

Newswise - Delaying Chemotherapy in Breast Cancer Patients Reduces Overall Survival, Especially for Those with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

November 6, 2015

KQED News - Cancer Patients on Medi-Cal Do Worse Than Those with Other Insurance

October 23, 2015

Huffington Post: Healthy Living - Yes, Chemicals In Nail Polish Can Leach Into Your Body

October 7, 2015

CBS SF Bay Area - Marin County Breast Cancer Rates Drop More Than 30 Percent

October 7, 2015

KQED - Marin County’s Breast Cancer Rate Has Plummeted. Why?

October 7, 2015


October 7, 2015

San Jose Mercury News- Marin breast cancer incidence rates continue to drop

October 6, 2015

NBC Bay Area - Breast Cancer Cases on the Decline, Reach New Low in Marin County

October 6, 2015

SF Gate- Marin County no longer a hot spot for breast cancer, study finds

September 29, 2015

The New York Times- Pilot Program Will Gauge Air Quality in New York Nail Salons

September 27, 2015

Safety & Health- Dangerous beauty: Salon worker health is in the spotlight

July 24, 2015

Cosmopolitan - 6 Ways to Tell If Your Nail Salon Is Safe

July 22, 2015

Huffington Post - Chronic Smoking Makes Breast Cancer Three Times More Deadly

July 22, 2015

Fox News - More evidence smoking raises risk of death from breast cancer

July 21, 2015

Business Insider - Study: Smoking triples the risk of death in women who get breast cancer later in life

June 8, 2015

Public Radio International - How some nail salons in California are finding a less toxic way to work

June 2, 2015

MSN - Nail varnish can pose serious health risks

May 26, 2015

Contra Costa Times - Hometown Hero: Director of Fremont Cancer Institute Blends Compassion with Artistic Flair

May 21, 2015

Daily Mail 'How your NAIL POLISH could be damaging your health: Cosmetic contains chemicals linked to fertility problems and cancer, scientist warns

May 21, 2015

LiveScience 'The Hidden Risks in Nail Polish

May 19, 2015

Forbes - 'Nailed': The Cosmetics Industry Is Next On The Firing Line’s 

May 19, 2015

The Conversation - Health risks beneath the painted beauty in America’s nail salons

May 14, 2015

Scope Blog - Health hazards in nail salons: Tips for consumers

May 13, 2015

KPCC Radio - California nail salon workers are no strangers to exploitation

May 8, 2015

The New York Times - Perfect Nails, Poisoned Workers

April 29, 2015

HealioSociodemographic factors affect thyroid cancer survival rates in young adults

April 15, 2015

SF Gate - Large Study of Thyroid Cancer Patients Uncovers Wide Disparities in Survival among Adolescent and Young Adult African Americans and Hispanics, CPIC Researchers Say

March 5, 2015

San Jose Mercury News - Fremont nonprofit group to hold conference for cancer patients

February 26, 2015

The Press EnterprisePOLLUTION: Tiniest particles appear to be riskiest

February 25, 2015

LA times - Ultrafine particles linked to heart disease deaths, study finds

February 19, 2015

American Society of Hematology - The Blood JournalAuthor Voices: Li Tao, MD, MS, PhD

February, 18, 2015

Stanford Medicine- Spectrum awards more than $1.1 million in pilot grants to 32 projects