May 24, 2017
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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.

May is Cancer Research Month

May 2017

Regular use of aspirin can lower breast cancer 

In a study led by the Cancer Prevention Institute of California (CPIC), researchers found the use of baby aspirin at least three times a week reduced the risk of breast cancers by 16 percent. Risk was reduced by 20 percent for hormone-receptor positive, HER2 negative cancers -- the most common breast cancer subtype. Get the details.

CPIC invited editorial on new study linking cancer to the environment 

For this months issue of Cancer, researchers at CPIC provided commentary in response to a new study using Environmental Protection Agency and National Cancer Institute cancer registry data to examine cancer risk to cumulative environmental exposures.

These exposures include air, water, land quality plus sociodemographic composition and the built environment.

In their commentary, CPIC researchers noted the importance of this cumulative analysis and these types of environmental data to document which communities are vulnerable to high cancer rates. Read more about the study and the commentary.

Most mobile health apps for cancer survivors come up short

CPIC researchers recently conducted a review of studies evaluating mobile applications for cancer survivors.

In their analysis, they found basic developmental and incremental testing steps, including involving cancer survivors and health practitioners in the development process, may be skipped in the interest of getting the app to market quickly.

As a result, apps may not be tailored for survivors’ treatment history, stage of readiness to change, exercise ability, age, cognitive abilities, and individual health goals. Read the press release.

Birth defects and cancers during adolescence and young adulthood

The overall number of cancer cases in adolescence and young adults was elevated among those born with chromosomal anomalies, but not in those with nonchromosomal birth defects, according to a recent CPIC-led study.

Of the 62,023 birth defect cases identified through the California Cancer Registry, 2,041 cancers were diagnosed in those between the ages of 15 – 25 years of age.

Among those with chromosomal birth defects, there was a four-fold increase in overall cancer incidence. The risk for leukemia was highly elevated among children with chromosomal anomalies, indicating that this known risk factor may persist as these children age into adolescent and early adult years.

PlumpJack/LINK Golf Classic raises $250K for cancer prevention

On May 1, 140 golfers and more than 260 dinner guests turned out for the 18th Annual PlumpJack/LINK Golf Classic.

Each year PlumpJack President and CPIC Board Member Hilary Newsom hosts the benefit she founded with her husband, Geoff Callan, to honor her late mother Tessa Newsom who lost her battle with breast cancer 14 years ago. 

The event also honors her mother-in-law, Barbara Callan, a 28-year breast cancer survivor. This year’s sold-out event raised $250,000 for the community education programs of CPIC. Since its inception, this event has raised over $4 million for CPIC.

May is Cancer Research Month

CPIC honors those who work tirelessly to Get in Front of cancer during Cancer Research Month.

View our infographic to see a few highlights of what CPIC researchers have accomplished over our 43-year history. You can find more highlights here.

  A rare, behind-the-scenes look at a CPIC epidemiologist

This month we continue our behind-the-scenes look into the world of a CPIC epidemiologist by introducing you to Staff Scientist Shannon Conroy.

What does she do? How does her research help CPIC to Get in Front of cancer? You'll also learn a surprising fact about her. Here's a hint: IRONMAN triathlon. 

  Get in Front of cancer this summer

May is also Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Check out our infographic for tips to reduce your risk all summer long.