April 23, 2014
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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.

Mark your calendars & Get In Front!

April 2014 

Dear Get in Front Supporter

While you're doing your spring cleaning, remember to also mark your calendars! This month, along with our research, we offer you a number of upcoming CPIC-affiliated events to consider attending. In addition to those featured below, we're also excited to announce a cocktail party taking place on April 29th in anticipation of our upcoming 40th anniversary celebration in June, as well as two annual events in support of CPIC Community Education – the PlumpJack/LINK Golf Classic on May 5th and the Oakland A's Breast Cancer Awareness Day on May 11th.

The Pipeline: Does Air Pollution from L.A. Traffic Contribute to Breast Cancer?

Images:  iStockphoto

Three grants were recently awarded to CPIC for our research work. One supports CPIC Research Scientist Iona Cheng, Ph.D., and her collaborator at USC in their new study of Los Angeles County’s traffic-related air pollution in relation to breast cancer risk. Vehicle exhaust contains cancer-causing chemicals – including one shown to cause mammary cancers in rodents – and is a major contributor to California’s high rates of air pollution. Los Angeles County’s particularly high volume of traffic, and, therefore potentially high rates of cancer-causing chemicals in the air, makes it an ideal focus of this study. “Our study, which happens to be the first large-scale comprehensive investigation of air pollution and breast cancer in minorities, will help us understand how patterns of exposure to air pollution may impact breast cancer risk,” said Dr. Cheng.

Learn more about this study and our other recently funded work

Sneak Peek at Mother's Day Garden Brunch Auction Items and Still Time to Get Tickets!

Images:  4photos.net
Next month’s Get In Front Mother’s Day Garden Brunch on Sunday, May 4th at 11:00 am in Atherton is set to be a wonderful way to celebrate women and support cancer prevention at the same time. Taking place one week before Mother’s Day, the event will include a silent auction, providing guests with many Mother’s Day gift options, including getaways to some of California’s most beautiful destinations, pampering services, cultural activities in the Bay Area, family outings, and more. The brunch, hosted at a private home, will be catered by PlumpJack Group and sponsored in-kind by The Scout Guide. Help CPIC Get in Front of cancer by honoring the women in your life at this multi-generational event for individuals and families.

Purchase your tickets to the Get In Front Mother’s Day Garden Brunch today

CPIC Welcomes Two New Board Trustees

Betsy England                    Elona Baum

Betsy England image courtesy of 
Morris Polich & Purdy LLP

With two new members recently joining CPIC’s Board of Trustees, CPIC is on a fast trajectory of inspiring others to support its mission to prevent cancer and reduce its burden. Elizabeth A. “Betsy” England, a Northern California Super Lawyer, accomplished civil litigator, and active member of the California State Bar, says that she is inspired to learn more about cancer prevention, and that as a two-time cancer survivor herself, she finds the work of CPIC resonates with her. Life sciences executive and legal expert Elona Baum is drawn, in particular, to CPIC’s “innovative research” and looks forward to “ensuring CPIC continues its long history of scientific excellence and public education.”

Learn more about Betsy                   Learn more about Elona

Meet CPIC's 40th Anniversary Celebration Award Honorees and Purchase Your Tickets

Tickets are now on sale for CPIC’s 40th Anniversary celebration, Pioneering Prevention, taking place on Thursday, June 26, 2014 at Gap Inc. Headquarters in San Francisco. It will be a fabulous evening celebrating 40 years of progress. Last month, we announced the names of the award recipients to be honored at the event. To learn more about each of these awardees and to purchase your tickets, please click on the link below. We are also pleased to welcome the Shattuck family as a platinum sponsor of the event. For more information about sponsorship opportunities, please click here.

Learn more about the award honorees and purchase tickets to CPIC's 40th anniversary celebration

CPIC to Co-Sponsor Free Event Promoting Health in South Asian Communities

Image: Palo Alto Medical Foundation

In honor of April being Minority Health Awareness Month, we are pleased to announce that together with the Palo Alto Medical Foundation and others, CPIC is co-sponsoring a free community event focused on health issues with particular relevance to the South Asian community. Titled, “South Asian Health: Partnering for Community Wellness,” the conference will take place on Saturday, May 10, 2014 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s Sunnyvale location. The program will feature speakers presenting research on South Asian health issues, including CPIC Research Scientist Scarlett Gomez, Ph.D., who will give a presentation based on her research of cancer incidence among South Asian Americans.

Click here for more information about the conference