June 24, 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.

CPIC Finds Male Breast Cancer Risk Factors

June 2014 

Dear Get in Front Supporter,

Due to a $2 million decrease in revenue, we are sorry to report that this is the last issue of the In Front eNewsletter until funding permits further production. More than ever, your support is critical to help us continue our groundbreaking cancer prevention research, along with our communications that bring this information to you, the people we serve. Thank you for reading In Front - we encourage you to check CPIC’s press pages often to keep up with our news.

NCI and CPIC Research Confirms Obesity, High BMI, and Hormonal Disorders Contribute to Male Breast Cancer

Images:  iStockphoto

According to researchers at the National Cancer Institute and CPIC, and other collaborators, men who are obese or who have never had children are at increased risk of developing breast cancer. In addition, this study confirms that men with the chromosomal disorder Klinefelter syndrome are at very high risk of breast cancer; and men who have gynecomastia, a hormonal condition associated with excess estrogen, are also at greater risk of the disease. “By pooling data from 21 participating studies worldwide, we created a unique opportunity to assess risk factors for male breast cancer among a very large group of patients and controls,” said Ann Hsing, Ph.D., study co-author and Chief Scientific Officer at CPIC.

Learn more about these findings

Almost-Sold-Out CPIC 40th Anniversary Event to Include Raffle: Enter Now to Win a $5,000 Shopping Spree at Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry

Image courtesy of
Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry

CPIC’s 40th Anniversary event on June 26, 2014, is almost sold out! Seats are limited, so don’t wait to purchase your tickets. As part of the celebration of CPIC’s four decades of achievements, the evening will include the announcement of a raffle winner (need not be present to win) who will win $5,000 toward a piece of Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry. Raffle tickets are on sale now for $50 each or $100 for three. Submit your entry in the mail by June 24th at noon, online by June 25th at noon, or at the event on June 26th. If you would like another way to  join us in celebrating CPIC’s anniversary, please consider contributing to the just-launched Pioneering Prevention Campaign.

Find out more about Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry and how to enter the raffle

CPIC Welcomes Two New Board Trustees

Joy Yi Boatwright (left), Marianne Jackson (right)

CPIC is again inspiring new leaders. Joy Yi Boatwright is Vice President at Merrill Lynch and a seasoned financial executive with a background in business development and consulting. “We need to learn more about what causes cancer and put resources toward how to prevent it,” says Joy. “Prevention is the side to be on." Marianne Jackson has over 25 years of experience in the human resources field as a senior executive to several well-known Silicon Valley powerhouses. “I have a passion for wellness strategies that truly yield better individual and population health,” says Marianne. “I am so privileged to be part of CPIC's board to support their incredible work in cancer prevention research."

Learn more about Joy and Marianne

The Pipeline: Studying Early-Life Exposures to Develop Cancer Prevention Strategies for Girls

Image: legacygirlsstudy.org
CPIC Senior Research Scientist Esther M. John, Ph.D. - who will receive the Saul A. Rosenberg, M.D.,  Research Award at CPIC’s 40th anniversary celebration - has received funding for year three of the LEGACY Girls Study, a multicenter research project in the US and Canada. It is the first study to focus on how early-life exposures - such as physical activity, diet, and environmental factors - influence pubertal development in girls at increased breast cancer risk due to family history. “To date, we’ve enrolled 1,040 girls across the five study sites and are conducting follow-up visits with the girls every six months,” says Dr. John. “This is a landmark study that will help us develop new preventive strategies for breast cancer that can be started at a young age.”

Learn more about the recent funding of the LEGACY Girls Study

Men's Health and Cancer Awareness: Prostate Cancer

Image: iStockphoto

June is Men’s Health/Cancer Awareness Month. In addition to our studies of male breast cancer, CPIC research includes a focus on prostate cancer, the number one cancer in men. Results from CPIC work in this area have pinpointed factors, such as sun exposure, that impact risk of the disease. Our large-scale prostate cancer research collaborations and groundbreaking studies of prostate cancer in non-white populations are helping to advance understanding of why some racial/ethnic groups are at higher risk of developing or dying from prostate cancer.

See how CPIC scientists are studying prostate cancer