July 22, 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

Donna Randall, Ph.D., MBA, is Named Chief Executive Officer of the Cancer Prevention Institute of California

Former Chancellor of Michigan’s Albion College brings fundraising, national advocacy and financial expertise to the Bay Area Nonprofit

FREMONT, CA (July 22, 2014) — The Cancer Prevention Institute of California (CPIC) has announced the appointment of Donna M. Randall, Ph.D., MBA, as chief executive officer, effective immediately. Dr. Randall joins CPIC after serving the past year as chancellor, and the prior six years as president, of Albion College, a highly regarded liberal arts college in Albion, Michigan. Dr. Randall was the first woman to serve as president of the college in its 178-year history. 

“Donna is a distinguished academic and business executive, and the board is pleased to welcome her at this important time in our history,” said Board Chair Samuel Bronfman II. “Just last month we celebrated our 40th anniversary as a cancer research institute focused solely on prevention. The organization has changed and evolved over that time, and Donna now has a unique opportunity to shape and guide the future of CPIC.”

“As a high-level leader in the university and college setting, Donna is an adept strategic planner and a proven effective fundraiser, both skills that translate well into her role at CPIC,” Bronfman said. “Her experience fostering business and community partnerships, and raising awareness at the national level, is of immense value to CPIC as we seek new ways to expand funding opportunities going forward.”

In her role as CEO, Dr. Randall will work to advance CPIC’s mission of large-scale impact on cancer prevention by collaboratively overseeing the staff, including 17 Ph.D.-level research scientists. She will expand alliances and partnerships, seek to raise the organization’s visibility, and actively pursue fundraising projects. 

An accomplished speaker and educator, Dr. Randall will serve as a national advocate for cancer prevention research through keynote presentations, publications and outreach efforts. 

“I am deeply honored to serve in a leadership role in an organization that, through research and education, benefits so many people,” Dr. Randall said. “Members of my extended family, as with most families, have been touched by cancer. CPIC is fortunate to have an outstanding group of talented research scientists and staff who are dedicated to preventing cancer in our generation and those that follow.”

In addition to Albion College, Dr. Randall has served in senior positions throughout her career in both private and public educational institutions, beginning as a faculty member at Washington State University in the department of management and systems. She later served as chair of that department, which led to her appointment as dean of the Fogelman College of Business and Economics at the University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee.

As one of a small number of women at the helm of an accredited business school at the time, Dr. Randall was instrumental in forming strategic partnerships with business and community leaders. A collaboration with FedEx, the largest employer in Memphis, resulted in creation of a technology institute. Additional funds were raised to support a teaching fellowship program, scholarships and innovations in technology. 

Dr. Randall went on to become provost of the University of Hartford in West Hartford, Connecticut, where she led faculty in seven schools and colleges and oversaw the office of grants and contracts. She joined Albion College in 2007. 

At CPIC, she succeeds Sally L. Glaser, Ph.D., who served as CEO for five years before stepping down in November of last year to return full focus to her role as a senior research scientist and director of CPIC’s Greater Bay Area Cancer Registry. The organization has been co-managed in the interim by Chief Operations Officer Reed Goertler and Chief Scientific Officer Ann Hsing, Ph.D. 

Dr. Randall has served as a board member of more than 15 corporate, community and policy organizations. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and received both a doctorate in sociology and a master of business administration from Washington State University. She completed her undergraduate work in sociology at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. 

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