Cancer-causing chemicals in CA Gold Country

March 2014 

Dear Get in Front Supporter

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. In this issue, we report recent published findings related to screening of this preventable cancer. We also introduce a new study of cancer-causing chemicals in California’s Gold Country. This work, and CPIC’s mission overall, is much in line with the World Health Organization’s recent report calling for a stronger focus on cancer prevention. Also highlighted in this issue – our recent, successful scientific symposium and news about our 40th anniversary celebration on June 26th.

CPIC Scientist Co-Author of Study Identifying Traditional Chinese Medicine Providers as Important to Colorectal Cancer Screening Efforts

Gem Le, Ph.D.
Images: CPIC, iStockphoto

According to a recent study, practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine can serve as valuable and culturally appropriate resources for promoting colorectal cancer screening in the Chinese immigrant community, which suffers high death rates from this cancer. While colorectal cancer screening is a cost-effective preventive measure, screening rates are low among most ethnic groups, including Asian Americans. “Given the high use of traditional Chinese medicine among Chinese Americans, we wanted to determine if a useful approach to promoting colorectal cancer screening could involve traditional practitioners, such as acupuncturists and herbalists,” said CPIC Research Scientist Gem Le, Ph.D., and co-author of the study. “We found that both providers and their participants were open to having providers communicate messages about biomedical approaches to health and colorectal cancer prevention. Many of them were already engaged in preventive education with their clients…[W]e believe these practitioners can have a positive impact on colorectal cancer screening among Chinese Americans.

Learn more about the findings

Get tickets now for CPIC’s Get In Front Mother’s Day Garden Brunch on May 4th!

CPIC Announces Award Recipients to be Honored at 40th Anniversary Celebration

Five individuals and one institution will be honored at CPIC’s upcoming 40th anniversary event, “Pioneering Prevention,” on Thursday, June 26 at Gap Headquarters in San Francisco. Among those to be honored are: Esther M. John, Ph.D., M.S.P.H. (Saul A. Rosenberg Research Award); Samuel Bronfman II (Doris Fisher Community Service Award); Garen Scribner, James Sofranko and Margaret Karl (Inspiration Award); and the Stanford Cancer Institute (Outstanding Partner Award). Longtime CPIC Board Trustee Doris Fisher, after whom one of the awards is named, said, “I am proud to have been a member of the outstanding CPIC Board of Trustees for the past 30 years, which supports our mission of cancer prevention. The men and women we are honoring represent the pillars of the work done at CPIC.” In addition to these awardees, we are also pleased to announce that Fremont Bank has generously sponsored our 40th anniversary event. For more information about sponsorship opportunities, click here.

Learn more about our 40th anniversary awards

The Pipeline: Do Women in California's Gold Country Have More Cancer Causing Chemicals in their Bodies?

Image: iStockphoto
Three grants were recently awarded to CPIC for our research work. One of the new grants supports CPIC’s work as part of a study of the health effects of living among abandoned mine waste. While the California Gold Rush of 1849 was profitable for many, contaminants resulting from the extensive gold mining that took place now exist throughout the Gold Country region of Northern California. As part of a community-research collaboration, CPIC Research Scientist Peggy Reynolds, Ph.D., and her team have partnered with Sierra Streams Institute and the University of Reno at Nevada to conduct a pilot study to determine if women living in this region – where breast cancer rates rank in the top ten of all California counties – exhibit higher levels of arsenic and cadmium, two carcinogenic metals pervasive in the region. It is the first human health study conducted in the Gold Country region focused specifically on levels of mining-related toxins in the body.

Learn more about our recently funded work

World Health Organization's 2014 Cancer Report Calls for Stronger Focus on Prevention

Last month, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization, released the World Cancer Report 2014, revealing alarming increases in cancer rates worldwide. Consisting of over 250 leading scientists from more than 40 countries, the Report authors specifically emphasize the need for urgent implementation of efficient cancer prevention strategies. “Despite exciting advances, this Report shows that we cannot treat our way out of the cancer problem,” states Dr. Christopher Wild, Director of IARC and co-editor of the book. “More commitment to prevention and early detection is desperately needed in order to complement improved treatments and address the alarming rise in cancer burden globally.” CPIC is at the forefront of just this kind of work, conducting studies with large data sets to understand the causes of cancer to aid prevention and early detection efforts.

Read more about the World Cancer Report 2014

CPIC/Stanford-Sponsored Scientific Symposium Fosters Collaboration


On February 10th, researchers from around the country gathered at Stanford for the inaugural Dee West Scientific Symposium, jointly sponsored by CPIC and the Stanford Cancer Institute (SCI). Titled, “The Role of Population-Based Cancer Registries in Cancer Prevention and Control: A Cells-to-Society Approach,” the event emphasized scientific integration of data on genetic and molecular markers, individual behaviors, and the social environment, to strengthen resources for cancer research. CPIC Chief Scientific Officer Ann Hsing, Ph.D., said, “We cannot overemphasize the important role that high-quality population-based data plays in estimating the burden and distribution of cancer, identifying specific cancer-related problems, developing effective cancer prevention and control policies, and providing access to representative study populations.” The event also honored Dee West, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Cancer Registry of Greater California and CPIC Emeritus Research Scientist, for his many accomplishments related to cancer prevention research and population-based cancer registries. Due to the attendees’ overwhelmingly positive response to the event, CPIC and SCI will extend the symposium into an annual event.

Watch video footage of the Symposium and download event program

© Cancer Prevention Institute of California