May 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 researcher named to National Cancer Moonshot working group

MAY 2016

CPIC researcher named to National Cancer Moonshot working group

Cancer Prevention Institute of California (CPIC) researcher Scarlett Lin Gomez, Ph.D., M.P.H, joins the Implementation Science Working Group of the National Cancer Institute’s Blue Ribbon Panel.  

Introduced by President Obama in January, the National Cancer Moonshot aims to prevent cancer, to detect it at an early stage and to make more therapies available to more patients. The panel is charged with providing advice on the vision, proposed scientific goals, and implementation of the National Cancer Moonshot initiative led by Vice President Joe Biden. Read the press release for details.

How you can make a difference during National Cancer Research Month

May is National Cancer Research Month. You can make a difference in CPIC’s work to Get in Front of cancer by contributing to the Research Investment Fund. Cancer prevention research is surprisingly underfunded, receiving less than seven percent of federal cancer research dollars. We need your support to provide CPIC researchers with the resources they need, including pilot study support and continuing education opportunities, to study who gets cancer and why. To make a donation to this fund, scroll down to the special purpose section on the donate page and type “Research Investment Fund.” Thank you for your support of cancer research. 

  Check out our infographic for tips to reduce your cancer risk this summer

This Friday is “Don’t Fry Day,” an annual observance to encourage sun safety awareness. Check out our infographic for tips to reduce your cancer risk all summer long.

 Reserve your spot for the WEBI Invitational Golf Tournament on June 6 – a benefit for CPIC

Twenty-five years ago, Eileen Broadwater of Primary Benefits was diagnosed with breast cancer. She, along with a group of colleagues in the employee benefits industry, wanted to make a difference by raising money for cancer prevention. They created the Women in Employee Benefits Invitational (WEBI) annual golf tournament. Since 1995, WEBI has raised over $150,000 for CPIC. Over 125 women play in the tournament and take golf lessons providing an opportunity to make a difference while networking with colleagues in the industry. This year WEBI is teaming up with Silicon Valley Association of Health Underwriters for an even bigger event to benefit CPIC. Get the details.

DanceFAR 2016 - Save the Date

Mark your calendars now for Tuesday, November 29. DanceFAR 2016, a one-night showcase of dance with an unforgettable after-party, returns to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.

Bringing some of the world's finest dancers together to support cancer prevention, DanceFAR was named by the San Francisco Chronicle to its list of “top 10 in dance 2015.”

Sponsorship packages start as low as $1,000. View the exclusive benefits including premier seating and widespread visibility opportunities for your company – all while making a difference in support of cancer prevention research and community education.

photo: Dores Andrè photographed by Quinn Wharton

   The perfect summer meal – a cool avocado citrus salad

As the temperature begins to rise, this delicious, cool and healthy avocado citrus salad from Rebecca Katz’s The Healthy Mind Cookbook is just what your body and taste buds are craving.

Avocados are full of brain-boosting vitamin E and a monounsaturated fat that helps lower blood pressure. In this delicate salad, the creamy avocado offers the perfect balance to the tartness of the grapefruit and citrus-ginger vinaigrette.