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Cancer Screening, Etiology, and Prevention


In 2013, approximately 19,500 new primary cancers were diagnosed in Kaiser Permanente Northern California members, with over 400,000 new cases diagnosed since 1990. In addition to a high-quality cancer registry, access to real-time medical records facilitates rapid case ascertainment and high accrual rates. Together, these strengths allow for both prospective and retrospective studies of cancer etiology and prevention.

DOR investigators have participated in multisite primary prevention trials of diet, vitamin supplements, medications, and physical activity. Current large cohort studies include the California Men's Health Study, Research Program on Genes, Environment and Health, and Women's Health Initiative. Other studies focus on screening of commonly prescribed medications for chemopreventive or carcinogenic effects, medical imaging and pediatric cancer, effects of bariatric surgery and obesity on cancer risk, and environmental and lifestyle determinants of early puberty in girls.

Conducting cancer research within the Kaiser Permanente Northern California health plan allows DOR investigators to undertake studies that can rapidly translate into improvements in the health care of its members and the community at large. Prime examples are current studies of colorectal, cervical, and lung cancer screening funded by the National Cancer Institute's Population-based Research Optimizing Screening Through Personalized Regimens (PROSPR).