December 19, 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.

Some drug combinations associated with lower mortality rates among breast cancer patients

December 2016

Some drug combinations associated with lower mortality rates among breast cancer patients

In a study led by Stanford University, researchers looked at data from nearly 10,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer between 2000 and 2013, of whom about 12 percent died within five years of the diagnosis. The team examined 294 drugs in more than 43,000 pairwise combinations to look for synergistic effects on survival, where the combined effect is greater than each individual drug effect.

Three combinations -- Anti-inflammatories and antihormone therapies, anti-inflammatories and lipid modifiers, and lipid modifiers and obstructive airway drugs -- showed a likely molecular mechanism linked to breast cancer survival. 

This study used the Oncoshare database. The Cancer Prevention Institute of California (CPIC) operates the Greater Bay Area Cancer Registry which contributes findings to the database. Read more.

CPIC researcher presented on the epidemiology of breast, prostate and lung cancer in Taiwan

On November 28, Scarlett Lin Gomez was invited to speak on “Epidemiology of breast, prostate, and lung cancer among Asian Americans: Accelerating cancer knowledge by leveraging heterogeneity” at the 2016 International Symposium of Cancer Center of Excellence – Innovative Research in Cancer Prevention and Treatment. 

The Symposium was hosted by the Taiwan National Health Research Institute and sponsored by the Taiwan Ministry of Health and Welfare, the two major public research institutes in Taiwan.

CPIC now offering cancer prevention workplace seminars

Cancer prevention workplace seminars are now available through CPIC. You choose the specific cancer prevention topic for a 50-minute presentation conducted at your office during the work day. Contact us to learn more.

Your support is needed to get in front of cancer

As you finalize your year-end giving, please consider a donation to CPIC. CPIC has been at the forefront of cancer prevention for over 40 years. Your contribution will support our cancer research and education initiatives so we can get in front of cancer.

So far this year, researchers at CPIC have published over 70 studies to better understand links to the causes of cancer. 

With only 7% of the current federal cancer research budget supporting prevention, your support is needed now more than ever before. Please give what you can.

DanceFAR – a spectacular event for an important cause

On November 29, 700 supporters of cancer prevention gathered at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for the 5th annual DanceFAR performance, a benefit for CPIC. Since our first DanceFAR performance in 2012, you have helped us raise over $450,000 for CPIC’s cancer prevention research and education initiatives. 

Our thanks goes out to the dancers, sponsors, food and beverage donors, ticket purchasers and the many other supporters who made the event possible. View the photos on Facebook

Photo: Alex Reneff-Olson

  The importance of sleep and exercise shared by CPIC researcher at Pink in December event

Supporting other cancer nonprofits in our community is important to CPIC. CPIC researcher Ingrid Oakley-Girvan spoke about exercise, sleep and telomeres and their significance for breast cancer survivors during the 2nd Annual Pink in December benefit for the Webb Family Seed Foundation on December 3. 

The Webb Family Seed Foundation is a community nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting those impacted by health disparities and other barriers.

Chicken soup to warm your body and soul on a winter day

If you are like many of us trying to fight a winter cold, or just looking for a healthy and hearty meal, you need to get into the kitchen and make a pot of Robust Chicken Soup from Rebecca Katz’s The Healthy Mind Cookbook.

  The ins and outs of health data sharing to be explored at PMWC Silicon Valley

We all agree that sharing genomic and other health data will enable the next wave of scientific advancements which ultimately translates to better diagnoses, treatment options, and overall well-being for patients. Yet, there are many hurdles we still have to overcome when it comes to generating, sharing, securing, and extracting knowledge from big health data. 

These include accumulating the right amount and kind of data to understand the underpinnings of cancer, making sense of big health data, and creating solutions that allow sharing of sensitive patient data in a secure and standardized way to maximize the potential benefits for scientific and medical insights. 

Health data sharing is among the many important topics to be explored at the Precision Medicine World Conference (PMWC) returning to Mountain View January 23 – 25. Register here to save 10%.

Happy Holidays from CPIC!
Best wishes to you and your loved ones.