Does Changing Where You Live Affect Cancer Risk?

April 2013

Dear Get In Front Supporter,

April is both National Minority Health Month and National Alcohol Awareness Month. In this issue of In Front, we bring to you two stories about our cancer prevention work that reflect these health focuses. We also take you behind the scenes to learn more about our investigations of damaged DNA, and risk and survival of breast and prostate cancers. With Mother’s Day coming up next month, please consider a gift for a special woman in your life in support of cancer prevention. Finally, we hope you will attend the upcoming 14th Annual PlumpJack/LINK Golf Classic to support CPIC breast cancer education.

CPIC Scientist Talks about Alcohol and Cancer on Radio

As April is National Alcohol Awareness Month, we bring to you some recent alcohol-related radio news coverage featuring CPIC Research Scientist Christina Clarke, Ph.D. In February, Dr. Clarke was featured on KQED-FM’s Forum with Michael Krasny, commenting as a scientific expert in response to a recently published and somewhat controversial study finding on alcohol-attributable cancer deaths. The study authors – who were from other institutions - claim that “there is no safe threshold for alcohol and cancer risk.” On the program, Dr. Clarke provided insights on alcohol intake and breast cancer risk, a topic that she and her colleagues have studied extensively as part of the California Teachers Study. She joined two other guests on the show – one of whom being an author of the recent study – in helping to make sense of the findings for the radio audience.

Listen to Dr. Clarke on “Study Links Alcohol to Cancer Deaths”

Minority Health Focus: Does Immigration to the US Affect Cancer Risk?

Important clues to the causes of cancer, particularly for specific racial/ethnic groups, can come from studying cancer trends in immigrants. If scientists find that immigrants have higher or lower cancer rates than those who remain in their home country, they know to focus less on genetics and more on environment or lifestyle factors – such as diet, physical activity, occupational exposures, and infections – as possible cancer risk factors. CPIC’s Scarlett Lin Gomez, Ph.D., and her team have looked at cancer rates among Asian and Hispanic immigrants, finding that the rates of most cancers increase after these groups immigrate to the US. Rates of stomach and liver cancer decrease, however, likely because after immigrating, these groups have lower rates of viral/bacterial infections that lead to these cancers. As these findings suggest, concentrating on environment or lifestyle factors may help us better understand the particular cancer risk that our growing populations of Asian and Hispanic immigrants face.

Learn more about this important work

Behind the Scenes at CPIC: Scientist Talks about Her Research and What Genes Have in Common with Cars

Meet CPIC Research Scientist Ingrid Oakley-Girvan, Ph.D. Dr. Oakley-Girvan recently sat down with CPIC communications staff to talk on video about some of her ongoing work. She and her team are using cutting-edge approaches to better understand the development of cancer and how we can reduce our risk and improve health. Working in a lab with specimens as part of her work, Dr. Oakley-Girvan is particularly interested in identifying genes that increase a person’s susceptibility to cancer. Through her work, she aims to identify how these genes interact with environmental factors - such as diet, stress, sleep and exercise - to reduce a person’s risk of cancer. As part of these efforts, Dr. Oakley-Girvan also conducts studies to improve chances of survival for cancer patients and decrease their risk of having cancer again.

Watch this video about Dr. Oakley-Girvan and what genes have in common with cars

Honor the Women in Your Life with a Meaningful Gift for Mother’s Day

CPIC’s work is especially important to women. Preventing breast cancer is a strong focus of CPIC research work, and we have also made strides in preventing cervical cancer and understanding risk factors associated with melanoma, a disease affecting more and more young women. With Mother’s Day just around the corner, CPIC invites you to show your appreciation for your wife, mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, or friend by making a tribute gift to support CPIC’s cancer prevention work in their honor. Go to or contact to make your gift by May 1st and we will send a personal card in time for Mother’s Day, May 12th, notifying the honoree of your meaningful gift. (The gift amount will be kept confidential.) You can also make a tribute gift in memory of a special woman who has touched your life with the option of CPIC notifying someone of your thoughtfulness.

Learn more about how CPIC can help you honor the women in your life for Mother’s Day

Reserve Your Spot at the 14th Annual PlumpJack/LINK Golf Classic to Support CPIC Breast Cancer Education

The 14th Annual PlumpJack/LINK Golf Classic supporting breast cancer education at CPIC will take place on April 29, 2013. CPIC Board Trustee Hilary Newsom Callan and Geoff Callan host this annual event in honor of their mothers, Tessa Newsom, who succumbed to breast cancer in 2002, and Barbara Callan, a 25-year breast cancer survivor. The event includes breakfast, a chipping and putting contest, an 18-hole shotgun golf game, lunch, on-course activities throughout the day, a cocktail reception, extravagant silent and live auctions, a gourmet dinner, and celebrity entertainment. The PlumpJack/LINK Golf Classic has raised over $2 million for CPIC and provides critical funding for CPIC community education. This includes seminars and conferences, program scholarships, individual assistance/referrals, and print materials on topics such as: treatment choices, managing treatment side effects, family issues, health insurance, employment, family genetics, nutrition, self-advocacy in the medical system, and much more. Support this important work by registering today for this year’s PlumpJack/LINK Golf Classic!

Find out more about the 14th Annual PlumpJack/LINK Golf Classic

© Cancer Prevention Institute of California