February 10, 2015
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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

One Woman's Legacy of Caring Continues to Educate and Empower People Impacted by Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Fremont-based Cancer Prevention Institute of California’s Annual Breast Cancer Conference has touched thousands of lives in past 14 years

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (February 10, 2015) – Fourteen years ago, in a San Mateo coffee shop, breast cancer survivor Barbara Jo Johnson talked about her vision of a conference that would empower individuals to make informed decisions about their medical care and be affordable to everyone.
Johnson, a tax specialist, was a partner at Deloitte and Touch and vice president of tax for both Duracell and The Gap.  She insisted the educational event be comprehensive and held at the Presidio in San Francisco, taking advantage of a natural setting she considered perfect for contemplation and healing.  The program she envisioned has touched the lives of thousands of patients, family members, researchers and health care professionals.

Prior to her death in 2004, Ms. Johnson worked closely with the Fremont, Calif.-based Cancer Prevention Institute of California (CPIC (www.cpic.org), to outline a comprehensive look at issues and implications of breast cancer for patients, families and friends.  Issues to be discussed include treatment, family issues, employment, health insurance, dating, sexuality, anxiety, fear and planning for the future.

The 14th Annual Allison Taylor Holbrooks / Barbara Jo Johnson Breast Cancer Conference, titled “The Challenges of Breast Cancer,” is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 7, at the Golden Gate Club, 135 Fisher Loop, The Presidio in San Francisco.  For more information, see the full agenda at this link.

CPIC Community Education Director Pam Priest Naeve met 14 years ago with Ms. Johnson and a classmate of Ms. Johnson to outline a vision for the conference whose audience is diverse in culture, ethnicity, age and geography.  The program will address common issues of treatment and survivorship.  It honors Johnson’s wish that no individual is turned away for lack of funds and is geared not only for the patient but also for friends and family members who have been touched by the nation’s second-most common cancer.  Social workers and nurses may also attend for Continuing Education Credits.

Expected to draw some 225 people, the conference includes speakers from many medical institutions including Stanford, the University of California at San Francisco, California Pacific Medical Center, Palo Alto Medical Foundation and private medical practices.  Other presenters include breast cancer survivors as well as individuals who have a family member diagnosed with breast cancer.  Community support services will also be present, representing non-profit organizations and hospitals.

Twenty-six year old David Bernstein will share his story of growing up in a family where his mother, grandmother and aunt were diagnosed with cancer.

“Barbara Johnson’s wish to help individuals understand the issues and challenges of breast cancer continues,” Naeve said.  “It used to be that ‘cancer’ and breast cancer’ were words not mentioned in general conversation.  Now the dialogue is open.  People help each other with information, go to appointments together, and check in on each other.  And, as Barbara wanted, they have more information with which to make informed decisions.”

Breakfast and lunch are included in the registration fee of $20.  No one will be turned away for lack of funds.  (Registered Nurses and Social Workers can receive Continuing Education Units for an additional $35.00) There is valet parking.  To register or obtain more information, please visit www.cpic.org or call 510/608-5165.

Conference partners with CPIC include the Association of Northern California Oncologists, Bay Area Cancer Connections, Bay Area Oncology Nursing Society, California Pacific Medical Center, Cancer Support Community, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Stanford Cancer Institute, Stanford University School of Medicine, The Health Library of Stanford University, University of California San Francisco and Women’s Cancer Resource Center.

Funders include Allison Taylor Holbrooks Breast Cancer Foundation, individual CPIC donors, the Oakland Athletics Community Fund, Melanie M. Bronfman Lecture Fund/CPIC, Genentech and the PlumpJack LINK Fund/CPIC.

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 www.cpic.org.


Media Contacts:
Pam Priest-Naeve, Director, Community Education, CPIC: 510/608-5161 or 415/515-4137. ppriestn@cpic.org
Jim Zelinski, Zelinski Public Relations for CPIC: 925/242/0918 or 415/420-6050. jimz@zelinskipublicrelations.com