July 20, 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.

Why are cancer rates are so high in poor communities?

July 2016

Cancer survivor and CPIC SAB member profiled by PBS: Why are cancer rates are so high in poor communities?

Cancer epidemiologist and cancer survivor Electra Paskett was profiled by PBS last month for her work to find out why cancer rates are so high in a poor Appalachian town. Paskett, who had experienced poverty as a child, is a member of the recently formed Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California (CPIC) and also serves as a member of the External Scientific Advisory Board at the Stanford Cancer Institute, a CPIC partner. Read her inspiring story.

Congratulations! CPIC partner Stanford Cancer Institute earns highest cancer center designation

The Stanford Cancer Institute (SCI), an affiliate of CPIC, has received the prestigious designation of  Comprehensive Cancer Center from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers are recognized for their scientific leadership, resources, and the depth and breadth of their research in basic, clinical, and/or population sciences. CPIC has partnered with SCI since 2004. Nine CPIC researchers are full members of the SCI Population Sciences Program. Sixteen epidemiologic cancer studies and over half of the population science publications between 2009-2014 were in collaboration with CPIC researchers. Get the details in the press release

Working with Cancer – new edition now available. Get the free PDF

The new edition of Working with Cancer: Workplace Guidelines and Solutions for Employers and Employees is now available. The book offers an updated synopsis of relevant labor laws and insurance issues. Throughout the book you will find numerous case studies illustrating how employers have been able to maintain a productive work environment while supporting employees with cancer. A free download is available from the education page of the CPIC website. Contact the education department to request a printed copy for $3.

Link between physical activity and the risk of triple negative breast cancer 

CPIC researcher Tina Clarke, Ph.D., M.P.H, collaborated on a large study of physical activity and the risk of breast cancers, including the most difficult-to-treat form of breast cancer, the triple negative type. Evidence has shown that recreational physical activity reduces overall breast cancer risk. However, it was unclear whether risk reduction pertains to specific molecular subtypes, which are defined as expressing certain molecular markers.

Moreover, few studies have examined whether changes in the amount of physical activity during adulthood influences these risks. Dr. Clarke and her team found physical activity reduced the risks of triple negative breast cancer, as well as luminal A-like estrogen receptor (ER) positive, progesterone receptor (PR) positive, and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) negative cancers. The study participants were former users of menopausal hormone therapy. This research included 54,686 women who participate in the long-term California Teachers Study. Find out more about this study.

Let’s get ready to play ball and raise funds for cancer prevention

CPIC volunteers will be busy all summer long selling caps, pins, necklaces and raffle tickets at all Oakland A’s home games. Look for us on the concourse behind section 120. You can also purchase raffle tickets for the chance to win a custom quilt autographed by the entire A’s team. Proceeds from all sales benefit both CPIC and the American Cancer Society. The A's will honor breast cancer survivors with a special celebration of life and hope on September 4th.

  CPIC’s Greater Bay Area Cancer Registry receives gold certification

CPIC’s Greater Bay Area Cancer Registry, which gathers information on all cancers newly diagnosed or treated in the nine-county region, recently received gold certification from the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR). The designation was given for quality, completeness, and timeliness for data submitted in 2013, the latest evaluation period. CPIC has consistently received the gold certification. 

   A day in the life of cancer prevention

You understand the importance of practicing daily healthy lifestyle habits to reduce your risk of cancer. Take a look at our day in the life of cancer prevention infographic for some easy tips.

   Support cancer prevention when you shop at Whole Foods Market in Fremont

Now through September 25, you can support cancer prevention when you shop at the Whole Foods Market in Fremont by choosing to donate the 5¢ per bag credit to CPIC. Every quarter Whole Foods Market selects a nonprofit organization in the region to support as part of its Nickels for Non Profits donation program. 

   Tuscan Beans and Greens recipe

Even if travel to Tuscany is not in your summer vacation plans, you can still savor the flavors with this tasty Tuscan Beans and Greens recipe from Rebecca Katz’s cookbook The Longevity Kitchen: Satisfying Big-Flavor Recipes Featuring the Top 16 Age-Busting Power Foods. One of the longevity players here is kombu, a sea vegetable that has tremendous amounts of iodine, along with phenomenal anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant characteristics.