December 1, 2012
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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.

Colon Cancer Risk Higher for Affluent Hispanics

December 2012

Dear Get In Front Supporter,

Season’s Greetings from your friends at CPIC! What puts some people at higher risk of cancers? Is it a particular chemical they are exposed to or something about their neighborhood? Is it their family history? CPIC’s response to questions like these is what inspires people like Louisa Gloger to give to CPIC generously of their time, energy and financial support, as you’ll read about below. We hope you’ll join her in supporting CPIC through the Matching Challenge 2012, now at $35,000. With this additional boost to the campaign - which ends on December 31, 2012 – now is the perfect time to give the gift of prevention to someone on your holiday list. We wish you and your family our best wishes for good health in the New Year.

Higher Income Means Higher Risk of Colorectal Cancer for Hispanics

CPIC researcher Iona Cheng, Ph.D., and her team have released findings from their latest study of colorectal cancer (CRC) among racial/ethnic groups in California. They found that higher socioeconomic status (SES) was associated with lower rates of colorectal cancer among whites and African Americans, which is consistent with other study findings. However, surprisingly, they found that higher SES was associated withhigher rates of CRC among Hispanics. CRC cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States but is preventable with regular screenings, which include polyp removal when necessary. In addition, studies have found that diets high in vegetable and fruit intake and increased physical activity to be associated with lower risk of CRC.

California Governor Appoints CPIC's Peggy Reynolds to State's Carcinogen Identification Committee

Last month, Governor Brown selected CPIC Senior Research Scientist Peggy Reynolds, Ph.D., as one of the “State’s Qualified Experts” to serve on the Carcinogen Identification Committee (CIC) for evaluating chemicals under Proposition 65, which regulates potentially harmful substances. Basing their decisions on the most current scientific information available, Dr. Reynolds and the other experts on the committee will determine if specific substances – including those not yet reviewed by other authoritative bodies such as the Environmental Protection Agency or the World Health Organization – should be included on the “Prop 65” list, a list of hundreds of chemicals that have been linked to cancer, reproductive harm, and birth defects. The listing prohibits the designated chemicals from being discharged into drinking water sources and can trigger labeling requirements. Ultimately, the work of the CIC protects drinking water from these substances and warns consumers of potential exposures to toxic chemicals in consumer products or in public places in order to reduce or eliminate exposures. Dr. Reynolds will continue to conduct research at CPIC in the same capacity.

Read the news article announcing Dr. Reynolds' appointment

The Pipeline: New Funding Supports Research of Cancer Disparity Issues

Many population groups suffer disproportionately from cancer and its after-effects. CPIC specializes in research that aims to alleviate these problems which are also known as “cancer disparities,” and most of the recently funded CPIC-affiliated studies reflect this focus. These studies address cancer disparities by examining specific breast cancer risk factors for Asian Americans, the particular role of race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status in cancer development and survival, and – as part of CPIC’s goal to reduce the burden of cancer where it cannot yet be prevented - the extent to which state-of-the-art cancer treatments are incorporated into medical practice and given to cancer patients in different communities.

Learn more about our recently funded work

Cancer Survivor and Nonprofit Finance Professional on "Smart Giving"

Thanks to a generous $10,000 gift from Louisa Gloger through the Woodbury Foundation, CPIC’s Matching Challenge 2012 has increased from $25,000 to $35,000. “I’m supporting CPIC’s Matching Challenge because it’s smart giving,” says Louisa, Co-Founder and Chief Financial Officer of Triple Step Toward the Cure. “You can increase your impact and also work with others to Get In Front of cancer.” Being diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer at only 31 years of age propelled Louisa to help other women and support cancer prevention. She believes her support will help other people – including her own daughters - avoid the disease she faced. Louisa is member of CPIC’s Board of Trustees and says she fully appreciates the “brain power” at CPIC. “Research topics at other institutions can be so broad, but CPIC scientists really drill down and follow through in addressing targeted questions,” says Louisa. “This gives me confidence in CPIC’s cancer prevention work, from a patient perspective.”

Join Louisa in supporting CPIC through the 2012 Matching Gift Challenge

Behind the Scenes: Meet CPIC's New Chief Operations Officer

Reed Goertler, an executive with a strong background in research administration, has joined CPIC as its new Chief Operations Officer. In addition to being responsible for day-to-day operations of CPIC’s administrative functions, Mr. Goertler will be looking at ways to broaden the organization’s revenue base and to add complementary business. “We are excited to have Reed working with us,” said CPIC’s Chief Executive Officer, Sally Glaser, Ph.D. “He brings extensive relevant experience, including NIH, federal, state and private grant acquisition, as well as significant background in the for-profit sector. He is going to be a tremendous asset for CPIC.” Reed says, "I am eager to get back into working with a research-based organization. Cancer is an important area that has touched my family and something that I have worked with in the past."

Learn more about Reed and his role at CPIC