February 26, 2018
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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

200 Patients and Survivors Will Gather in San Francisco this Saturday, March 3 for the 17th Annual Breast Cancer Conference

Conference supports breast cancer patients and survivors in making informed health decisions

FREMONT, CALIF. (February 26, 2018)
– What is going to happen to my health insurance?

How do I make informed treatment decisions? 

How do you ride the emotional roller coaster of breast cancer?

What are some methods to cope with treatment side effects? 

How do patients and their families sustain working relationships with a breast cancer medical team? 

What is the role of nutrition and exercise in supporting recovery and reducing a cancer recurrence? 

Answers to these and other questions, combined with personal stories of those coping with cancer, will be addressed during the 17th Annual Breast Cancer Conference: Progress, Power and Prevention of the Cancer Prevention Institute of California.  The event will take place from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 3, at the Golden Gate Club, 135 Fisher Loop, in the Presidio San Francisco. The 2018 conference is co-sponsored by the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Featuring prominent medical experts, the conference is expected to be filled to capacity exceeding 200 breast cancer survivors and medical professionals. The conference offers answers, the latest research and compassion. Cancer patients and survivors benefit by receiving the trustworthy information they need to make informed decisions about their health. Attendees will emerge from the conference armed with credible information about treatment, the common emotions that follow a cancer diagnosis, how nutrition and exercise support recovery, coping with side effects, relationships and family planning and more.

Some highlights of this year’s conference include:
  • Kara Carter, senior vice president of strategy and programs for the California Health Care Foundation, will discuss one of the most talked about health care topics, What’s Going to Happen to My Health Insurance?  
  • Dr. Pam Munster who co-heads the Center for BRCA Research at UCSF, and a carrier of the BRCA gene, will discuss Hereditary Mutation in Breast Cancer in the New Era of Panel Testing.
  • Research Scientist Scarlett Lin Gomez, who holds a joint position at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California and UCSF, will share research highlights of racial/ethnic disparities in breast cancer since rates vary by racial/ethnic group. 
  • Regan Fedric of Sunflower Wellness will get attendees out of their seats in her breakout session, Get Moving Through Cancer: Advice on Exercise. She will also discuss some of the strongest and latest evidence-based research on breast cancer and exercise. 
Among the participants who has benefited from the conferences is Ariana N. She’s attended every conference since 2014 – the same year she was diagnosed with Stage 1, Grade 3 breast cancer at the age of 44. She said, “The conference addresses the constellation of concerns that accompany a cancer diagnosis. I enjoy attending the conference each year because the information is delivered in a way that can be understood by both medical practitioners and survivors.”

Another important aspect of the conference is being able to connect with other women. As Helen Handelsman, another frequent attendee, says in the conference video, “It’s wonderful to be with women who are sharing your ups and downs. Because breast cancer, I find, is an isolating event.”  

Since its inception, the conference has benefitted more than 3,000 patients and their family members. Last year, 91 percent of participants rated the conference as excellent or very good. Since CPIC is not a medical facility, attendees get to hear from leading oncologists from across health systems, including including UCSF, Stanford, and Sutter Health.

Dr. Mark C. Rounsaville, a radiation oncologist at California Pacific Medical Center specializing in breast cancer and assistant clinical professor of radiation oncology at the University of California San Francisco, School of Medicine, will, for the 17th year, moderate the morning program. He is the author and/or coauthor of numerous scientific journal articles.

Breakfast, lunch and valet parking are included in the registration fee.  Online registration closes on February 27.

Visit the CPIC website for more about the topics that will be presented at the conference. For questions about the conference email education@cpic.org or call 510.608.5160.  

Media Contact: Jim Zelinski, Zelinski Public Relations: 925.242.0918, 415.420.6050 or jimz@zelinskipublicrelations.com

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. CPIC 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

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