Print This Page

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 2009

December 4, 2009

HemOnc Today - "Exposure to high levels of secondhand smoke may increase postmenopausal breast cancer risk"

December 2009

Real Simple magazine - "You, improved: The latest news, research, and vital information to help you lead a healthier life"

November 23, 2009

7x7 Magazine's "The Bigelow Report" - "Northern California Cancer Center celebrates its 35th anniversary"

November 20, 2009

San Francisco Chronicle - "Letter to the editor: Research goal is prevention"

November 10, 2009

San Francisco Chronicle - "Leaders in fight against cancer share spotlight"

November 2009

Nutrition Action Healthletter - "Soy what? The jury's still out on soy's benefits"

October 27, 2009 - "8th Annual NFL Celebrity Servers benefit featuring Patrick Willis, Takeo Spikes, and more"

October 17, 2009

Marin Independent Journal, Contra Costa Times - "Hormone therapy possible culprit for Marin's high breast cancer rate"

October 1, 2009

San Francisco Business Times - UCSF, other UC med centers, get $10.1M to revamp breast cancer study/care"

September 24, 2009

Reuters - "Northern California Cancer Center finds increased risk of most common form of childhood leukemia associated with residential proximity to agricultural pesticides"

August 5, 2009

WCCO/CBS - "Hormone maker paid ghostwriters to push product"

July 28, 2009

National Cancer Institute Cancer Bulletin - "More women are choosing mastectomies at Mayo Clinic"

July 20, 2009

Reuters - "Northern California Cancer Center's first-of-its-kind research reveals low socioeconomic status often equals poor chance of lymphoma survival"

July 15, 2009

Science Daily - "Childhood cancer risk increases with mother's age"

July 15, 2009

San Jose Mercury News - "Letter to the editor: Supporting cancer prevention research"

July 8, 2009

Silicon Valley Mercury News - "Carly Fiorina: California must invest in cancer research, despite shortfall"

June 26, 2009

United Press International - "Urban-rural breast cancer disparities"

April 14, 2009

Reuters - "Sally L. Glaser, Ph.D., named CEO of the Northern California Cancer Center"

April 14, 2009

Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal - "Glaser to head Northern California Cancer Center"

April 12, 2009

The California Voice - "Elders to keynote African American Breast Cancer Conference"

April 6, 2009

Oakland Post - "Former Surgeon General to speak at African American Breast Cancer Conference"

March 6, 2009 - "Breast cancer conference to be held Saturday in San Francisco"

March 4, 2009

The Argus, Contra Costa Times, Daily Review, Oakland Tribune, San Mateo County Times, Tri-Valley Herald - "Melanoma, a deadly skin cancer, is rising rapidly in the United States" (

March 4, 2009

KCBS News - "Skin Cancer Rates Increase: Researcher Tina Clark, discusses a study by the Northern California Cancer Center, which says the number of people being diagnosed with melanoma is growing rapidly"

March 1, 2009

KPFA Radio - NCCC's Tina Clarke, Ph.D. on her recent melanoma study findings (clip featured from 26:13-29:23)

February 9, 2009

Medscape Medical News - "Breast cancer risk varies among Mexican-born and American-born Hispanics" (Access to article requires registration, but registration is free.)

February 7, 2009

KCBS News - "Cancer in the Man-Made World: Dr. Scarlett Gomez on the research being conducted for the Northern California Cancer Center, that looks for correlations between the "built environment" and the disease."

February 5, 2009

US News & World Report - "Two-thirds of Hispanic women discover breast cancer themselves: But half wait at least a month before seeking help, research shows"

February 4, 2009 - "Study: Hormone therapy caused breast cancer in thousands"

February 4, 2009 - "Research shows Hispanic women get breast cancer late"

February 4, 2009

American Association of Cancer Research (press release) - "Hispanic women and breast cancer: An understudied group"