June 14, 2016
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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 Releases Annual Cancer Incidence and Mortality Review for the Greater Bay Area

Rates of overall cancer incidence declined substantially from 1988 to 2013

FREMONT, CA (June 14, 2016) 

Over the 26 years between 1988 and 2013, the rates at which people in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area are being diagnosed with cancer and dying from it have been decreasing, according to researchers at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California (CPIC)

The Greater Bay Area Cancer Registry, operated by CPIC as part of the California Cancer Registry, collects information according to state law on all newly diagnosed cancers occurring in residents of nine Greater Bay Area counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz).

From 1988 through 2013, the most recent period for which data are available in Greater Bay Area Cancer Registry, the occurrence of all new invasive cancers (those that have invaded surrounding tissue) declined by 15.8 percent overall, by 22.7 percent among males and by 10.9 percent among females, according to CPIC’s 2016 Annual Cancer Incidence and Mortality Review. This newly released report summarizes these current cancer statistics, with an emphasis on the most recent five years of cancer diagnoses and deaths (2009-2013) in the Greater Bay Area. 

Among males the decline in overall cancer incidence between 1988 through 2013 was largely due to declines in smoking-related cancers, especially lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and prostate cancer. Among females, the overall decline was due primarily to lower rates of smoking-related cancers, especially lung cancer, colorectal cancer, ovarian, and cervical cancer.

From 2009 through 2013, there were 156,292 new cases of cancer diagnosed in the Greater Bay Area. The five most common invasive cancer sites in the Greater Bay Area were breast, prostate, lung and bronchus, colorectal, and melanoma. These cancers accounted for over half of all newly diagnosed cases. 

Over this same period, black males had the highest overall incidence rate of invasive cancer. Among females, whites had the highest overall incidence rate. Both Asian/Pacific Islander males and females had the lowest incidence rate. 

“We continue to observe a downward trend in deaths due to cancer across the region,” said Christina A. Clarke, Ph.D., research scientist at CPIC. “An important reason why is tobacco control, because California’s efforts are some of the most successful in the world. But there is still major room for improvement in the prevention of melanoma and obesity-related cancers.”

The report segments incidence and mortality rates by cancer type, sex, and racial/ethnic background, and provides regional, statewide and national comparisons. Key highlights for incidence and mortality for the five most common cancers diagnosed among Greater Bay Area residents are listed below.

· Breast Cancer 
  • Most commonly diagnosed cancer among Greater Bay Area females.
  • Rates were stable for white and black women and declined at 0.4 percent per year for Hispanic women between 1988 and 2013.
  • Rates increased significantly among Asian/Pacific Islander women at 1.2 percent per year over this same time period.
  • Mortality rates declined in all racial/ethnic groups from 1988 through 2013. 
  • Black women had the highest mortality rates (29.7 per 100,000), followed by white women (21.7 per 100,000).
  • The higher rates of in situ breast cancer (tumors that have not spread) observed in the Greater Bay Area could be associated with regional differences in mammography utilization, or the availability of mammography technology, specifically digital and other technologies more capable of identifying the in situ form of breast cancer.

· Prostate Cancer

  • Most commonly diagnosed cancer among Greater Bay Area males.
  • A significant decline in incidence occurred among men in all races between 2010 and 2013, at an average of 12.3 percent per year. 
  • Compared to males in all of California, males in the Greater Bay Area had higher prostate cancer incidence rates in all racial/ethnic groups. 
  • Rates were highest among black men (194.5 per 100,000 compared to 78.1 for Asian/Pacific Islander men) from 2009 through 2013.
  • Prostate cancer mortality rates have steadily declined for all racial/ethnic groups by an average of 3.6 percent per year since 1991. 
  • The mortality rate in black males was nearly five times the rate in Asian/Pacific Islander males from 2009 through 2013.

· Lung and Other Smoking-Related Cancers
  • Incidence rates continued to decrease by an average of 2.8 percent per year from 2007 through 2013 across all racial/ethnic groups.
  • Despite declining rates, lung cancer continues to be the second most common cancer diagnosis among males and females in the Greater Bay Area.
  • Lung cancer deaths account of all cancer deaths for 22.1 percent of males and 21.4 percent of females from 2009 to 2013.
  • Incidence and mortality rates were highest among black males and females.
  • Cancers known or thought to be smoking-related include cancers of the lung, oral cavity and pharynx, esophagus, stomach, colorectum, liver, pancreas, larynx, bladder, kidney and acute myeloid leukemia. 

· Melanoma
  • Third most common invasive cancer diagnosed among white males in the Greater Bay Area. In other U.S. populations, melanoma generally ranks fourth or fifth.
  • Incidence rates are almost eight times higher among whites than Hispanics, and extremely low among blacks and Asian/Pacific Islanders.
  • From 2008 through 2013, the rate increased an average of 2.3 percent per year. This rate of increase was significantly lower than the 8.5 percent average increase seen from 2002 through 2008. However, for white males the rate continued to increase at an average of 5.7 percent per year from 2001 through 2013. 
  • Over the past decade, melanoma incidence rates among whites have been significantly higher and increased more rapidly in the Greater Bay Area than in California overall. 
  • Mortality rates decreased slightly since 1988 for all races/ethnicities, but were twice as high among white men compared to white women, a difference that is poorly understood.

· Colorectal Cancer
  • Third most commonly diagnosed cancer among Greater Bay Area males and females.
  • Incidence rates have declined for both genders over time, but most significantly in men – at 5.2 percent per year – since 2008.
  • Incidence rates are highest among blacks (48.4 per 100,000), followed by whites (37.5 per 100,000).
  • Mortality rates have declined over the past 26 years, except in black males.

Read the full review for a comprehensive overview of incidence and mortality rates in the Greater Bay Area. The appendices provide detailed charts of cancer incidence and mortality by race/ethnicity, including select Asian ethnic subgroups.
About the Cancer Prevention Institute of California

The Cancer Prevention Institute of California is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing cancer and to reducing its burden where it cannot yet be prevented. We are the only freestanding research institution working solely to prevent cancer using extensive population data. Our researchers study a wide range of cancer risk factors, such as racial/ethnic background, socioeconomic status, age, occupation, gender, genetic predisposition, geographic location, environment and lifestyle to determine how these factors affect frequency, distribution and types of cancers. For more information, visit the CPIC website at www.cpic.org

Media Contact: 
Donna Lock, 510-608-5160 | donna.lock@cpic.org