August 24, 2016
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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 study finds toxic chemicals in public drinking water systems and levels in residents may be linked

August 2016

CPIC study finds presence of certain toxic chemicals in California public drinking water systems may be related to levels in residents

Researchers at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California (CPIC) and the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Department of Toxic Substances Control compared the detection of potentially toxic chemicals in a number of California public drinking water systems to those in the blood in a sample of 1,566 women residing throughout the state of California. 

CPIC researchers Susan Hurley, M.P.H., David Nelson Ph.D., Peggy Reynolds, Ph.D., M.P.H., and their collaborators found that those living in areas served by water systems with highly fluorinated chemicals called perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) had 30 to 40 percent higher levels of the chemicals in their blood than those living in areas served by water systems without reportable PFAAs. 

Laboratory studies suggest PFAAs may have adverse health effects on the liver, immune system and development.  

The CPIC-led study is one of four related studies looking at toxic chemicals in drinking water. Learn more about PFAAs and other highly fluorinated chemicals on the Green Science Policy Institute website.

DanceFAR tickets go on sale September 1

We are proud to announce the fifth annual DanceFAR (Dance For A Reason) performance and after-party to benefit CPIC on Tuesday, November 29th, 7:30 p.m. at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Tickets go on sale September 1st.

Named one of the top ten dance events of 2015 by the San Francisco Chronicle, DanceFAR is an event like none other, featuring performances from the Bay Area's most celebrated dance companies and international guest artists, followed by an unforgettable after-party with food and drink from some of the most coveted local restaurants and wineries.

This special, one-night-only performance sells out, so mark your calendars! San Francisco Magazine is the official media sponsor of DanceFAR.

Don’t miss the A’s game to honor breast cancer survivors on September 4

Through September 2nd, you can support breast cancer research and education while cheering on the A’s at all home games. Look for CPIC and American Cancer Society volunteers selling caps, pins, necklaces and raffle tickets – for a chance to win a quilt autographed by the entire A’s team – on the concourse behind section 120. On September 4th only, you can also purchase breast cancer awareness jerseys at Gate A during the special celebration of life and hope game dedicated to survivors. All proceeds benefit both CPIC and the American Cancer Society.

NEA collaborates with CPIC to advance the development of breath analysis technology

Nano Engineered Applications, Inc. (NEA) has begun a research collaboration with CPIC to identify specific cancer biomarkers in exhaled breath including, but not limited, to lung and breast cancer. The medical community has long known that early diagnosis of cancer results in improved survival compared to diagnosis at more advanced stages. However, early diagnosis using traditional invasive methods is expensive, has associated risks, and is often not suitable for screening mass populations. Read the press release for more details.

August is National Peach Month – drink to your health with this refreshing smoothie

The Peach Ginger Smoothie from Rebecca Katz’s cookbook The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen: Nourishing, Big-Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery will not only keep you cool on a hot, summer day, but could also help you to get in front of cancer. A study conducted in 2010 showed the antioxidants in peaches may help to prevent and destroy breast cancer cells. If you have a sensitive mouth or throat issues, omit the ginger in this recipe to avoid irritation.