April 28, 2014
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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.

Press Releases

The Cancer Prevention Institute of California will Honor Leaders in Business, Science and the Arts at 40th Anniversary Pioneering Prevention Celebration

Senior Research Scientist Esther John, Board Chairman Samuel Bronfman II, Get In Front Performance Co-producers Garen Scribner, James Sofranko and Margaret Karl, and the Stanford Cancer Institute are Honorees

FREMONT, CA (April 28, 2014) — The Cancer Prevention Institute of California (CPIC) will celebrate 40 years of “Pioneering Prevention” by honoring six inspirational leaders and partners, each of whom is uniquely dedicated to furthering CPIC’s mission of preventing cancer and reducing its burden where it cannot yet be prevented.  The honorees include Senior Research Scientist Esther John, CPIC Board Chairman Samuel Bronfman II, Get In Front Performance Co-producers Garen Scribner, James Sofranko and Margaret Karl, and CPIC’s long-time partner, the Stanford Cancer Institute. 

The award recipients have demonstrated a deep sense of commitment, strong vision and tireless dedication to the cause of cancer prevention. They will be honored at CPIC’s 40th anniversary celebration to be held at the Gap Inc. Headquarters in San Francisco, Thursday, June 26th, beginning at 6:00 PM. 

The Saul A. Rosenberg Research Award: Esther M. John, Ph.D., M.S.P.H.

Esther M. John, Ph.D., M.S.P.H., senior research scientist, joined CPIC in 1994 and has served as principal investigator for more than 60 research studies.  She has sought answers to questions such as why the incidence of breast cancer varies so greatly among different racial/ethnic groups, and how lifestyle factors that change with migration and acculturation influence breast cancer risk among Latina women. Thanks in part to her research, we now have a greater understanding of why women with a family history of breast cancer, or certain genetic mutations, have a greater risk of developing breast cancer. 

Established in 1999, the Saul A. Rosenberg Award is given to an individual who demonstrates extraordinary commitment and dedication to improving our understanding of cancer. The recipient of this award has played a major role in cancer research, is a respected and honored teacher, has demonstrated leadership and vision, and is nationally recognized for the excellence of his/her work.

The Doris Fisher Community Service Award: Samuel Bronfman II

CPIC board chairman since 2004, Sam Bronfman is a respected leader who has a deep understanding of how to integrate CPIC’s organizational mission with a sound economic strategy. He has fostered opportunities for organizational advancement, provided guidance and perspective through periods of change and reflection, and contributed to CPIC's continued financial health.  Bronfman, whose association with CPIC was inspired by personal experience, has been a dedicated champion and advocate of CPIC's research mission, and a strong supporter of the organization's community education and outreach programs. 

The Doris Fisher Community Service Award was established for CPIC’s 20th anniversary in 1994 and named after one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most prominent business leaders and philanthropists. It is given to an individual who demonstrates commitment to cancer and the community, whose leadership has increased the understanding of cancer, and who has assisted individuals in accessing appropriate cancer care for themselves and their families.

The Outstanding Partner Award: Stanford Cancer Institute

Stanford University helped found the Cancer Prevention Institute of California in 1974, and the two organizations embarked on a long and fruitful journey of close collaboration for the advancement of cancer research. In 2005, CPIC and Stanford University became joint partners in the Stanford Cancer Institute (SCI), facilitating integration of research in the population sciences with both laboratory-based and clinical research. Two years later, with CPIC as its partner, SCI achieved the honor of National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, a distinction held by only 68 cancer centers nationwide.  

The Outstanding Partner Award is presented to a company, nonprofit or academic institution whose efforts, generosity and leadership have helped promote cutting-edge cancer prevention research and outreach.  SCI’s vision and commitment have contributed significantly to the success of CPIC’s mission.

The Inspiration Award: Garen Scribner, James Sofranko and Margaret Karl

Three exceptional artists and social innovators, Garen Scribner, James Sofranko and Margaret Karl, were inspired by the belief that through dance they could bring awareness to the importance of cancer prevention. Scribner, Sofranko and Karl used their collective vision to develop the world-class Get in Front dance performances, which have raised close to $300,000 for CPIC. They enlisted renowned choreographers and performers to donate their time and talent, secured in-kind donations to offset costs and maximize proceeds, and set the stage for success with careful planning and event management. 

The Inspiration Award is given to an individual or individuals whose motivation has led them to make a difference in cancer prevention through creative, resourceful, and inspired innovation and determination.  Recipient(s) of this award have developed events, programs or services that support CPIC’s research and promote its mission.

Tickets and Sponsorship Information

Tickets for the 40th Anniversary Pioneering Prevention event are $240 for individuals and support CPIC’s mission to prevent cancer before it starts. For information and to reserve tickets, visit www.cpic.org/anniversary or contact Sandi Farrell at 510-608-5003 or sandi.farrell@cpic.org.  For sponsorship opportunities and benefits, please contact Dori Ives at 510-608-5051 or dori.ives@cpic.org.  

About the Cancer Prevention Institute of California
The Cancer Prevention Institute of California (CPIC) is the nation’s premier organization dedicated to preventing cancer and to reducing its burden where it cannot yet be prevented. CPIC tracks patterns of cancer throughout the entire population and identifies those at risk for developing cancer. Its research scientists are leaders in investigating the causes of cancer in large populations to advance the development of prevention-focused interventions. CPIC’s innovative cancer prevention research and education programs, together with the work of the Stanford Cancer Institute, deliver a comprehensive arsenal for defeating cancer. For more information, visit CPIC’s official website at www.cpic.org.


Media Contact: Jana Cuiper, 510-608-5160 | jana.cuiper@cpic.org