May 27, 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

Breast Cancer Advocate Dr. Susan Love will Provide Keynote Address for CPIC’s 40th Anniversary Pioneering Prevention Event June 26th in San Francisco

Collaboration and sharing are essential to cancer prevention research, according to Dr. Love

FREMONT, CA (May 27, 2014) —The Cancer Prevention Institute of California (CPIC) has announced that author and cancer prevention advocate Susan Love, M.D. will serve as keynote speaker for the organization’s 40th anniversary celebration Pioneering Prevention. The event takes place Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 6 PM at Gap Inc. Headquarters in San Francisco.

“I am honored to provide the keynote speech for CPIC’s 40th anniversary celebration,” Dr. Love said. “This organization has been working to prevent cancer since 1974 when then President Nixon declared ‘war on cancer.’  I am impressed by the long-standing commitment and years of dedication among the scientists and staff at CPIC. They truly are prevention pioneers.”

“Dr. Love is an inspiring, impassioned leader and advocate for cancer prevention,” said Dori Ives, Director of Development and Communications at CPIC. “Her drive and initiative in facilitating collaborative research and educating the public about breast cancer is exemplary. We are delighted she is joining us for this important milestone in our history.” 

Dr. Love has dedicated her professional life to the eradication of breast cancer and, since retiring from her active surgery practice in 1996, has been an enthusiastic advocate for cancer prevention. She is the chief visionary officer of Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, whose mission is to achieve a future without breast cancer. Two years ago, following a leukemia diagnosis, she underwent chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant. She came away from this experience more determined than ever to put a stop to cancer. 

“It is imperative that we find the causes of cancer and focus our efforts on prevention,” Dr. Love said. “We need collaboration. No single university, foundation or lab can find all the answers by themselves. It is only by working together and sharing ideas that the real breakthroughs can be made.”

Dr. Love is often referred to as one of the “founding mothers” of the breast cancer advocacy movement. Her well-known book, Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book, has been termed “the bible for women with breast cancer” and is currently in its fifth edition. She is also recognized for her book on menopause and hormone therapy, which was one of the first to sound the alarm against long-term use of postmenopausal hormone replacement.

Her mission to find the causes and identify ways to prevent cancer includes the Army of Women®, an innovative and cost-effective resource  for researchers looking to recruit women for their breast cancer research, and the Health of Women [HOW] Study™, a long-term online cohort open to anyone over the age of 18, seeking to identify risk factors and prevention methods. She believes the answer lies not in more screening to find cancer, but in not getting cancer in the first place. 

Tickets for CPIC’s 40th Anniversary Pioneering Prevention event are $240 for individuals, $2,200 for a table for ten, and support CPIC’s mission to prevent cancer before it starts. For information and to reserve tickets, visit or contact Sandi Farrell at 510-608-5003 or  For sponsorship opportunities and benefits, please contact Dori Ives at 510-608-5051 or

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

About Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation
Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation’s mission is to achieve a future without breast cancer by focusing on prevention and finding the cause. This is being accomplished by democratizing research to include the public’s voice in the process, facilitating research through programs like the Army of Women® launched in 2008 as a resource for researchers, and performing research through projects like the innovative Health of Women [HOW] Study™, created in 2012 to identify the cause and cost of the disease through an online cohort.

Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, and its more than 375,000 volunteers nationwide, invite you to Act with Love and become part of a movement to engage the public in breast cancer research with the goal of eradicating the disease once and for all. To learn more and show your support, visit


Media Contact: Jana Cuiper, 510-608-5160 |