Population Sciences Program

About Population Sciences

The Population Sciences Program is focused on reducing the burden of cancer and improving outcomes of cancer patients. Program members conduct observational and interventional research on cancer etiology, behavioral interventions, screening and outcomes that has a significant translational impact on clinical or public health practice in the SCI catchment area and beyond.

Program Aims:

  • Identify Lifestyle, Environmental, and Genetic Risk Factors for Cancer
  • Cancer Screening & Detection, and Cancer Treatment & Outcomes
  • Behavioral and Intervention Research to Reduce Cancer Risk, Incidence, Recurrence, and Mortality

Program Directors

Esther M. John, PhD, MSPH

Professor (Research) of Medicine (Division of Oncology/Cancer Institute)

Co-leader, Population Sciences
Stanford Cancer Institute


Allison Kurian, MD, MSc

Professor of Medicine (Oncology) and of Epidemiology and Population Health

Co-leader, Population Sciences
Stanford Cancer Institute


Marcia L. Stefanick, PhD

Professor (Research) of Medicine (Stanford Prevention Research Center) and of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Co-leader, Population Sciences
Stanford Cancer Institute


Program Directory

SCI Population Sciences Program

Available Data and Biospecimen Resources for Collaborative Research

Breast Cancer Family Registry (BCFR)

The BCFR is a multicenter cohort of ~11,000 breast cancer families from the U.S, Canada and Australia established in 1995, with systematic follow-up for new cancers and outcomes, updates of baseline data, and collection of new data items

Resources:  Baseline and follow-up data on family history and risk factors, clinical data, self-reported treatment data, blood samples (DNA, cell lines, plasma), pathology review data, tumor tissue (slides or TMAs), extensive germline molecular characterization (GWAS, Oncoarray, BRCA1, BRCA2, other candidate genes)

Website: http://www.bcfamilyregistry.org

SCI contact person:  Esther M. John, emjohn@stanford.edu

Women’s Health Initiative

WHI has rich phenotypic data, stored plasma, serum and buffy coat samples and cancer outcomes for 161,808 postmenopausal women (19% non-white), aged 50-79 at baseline (1993-1998) enrolled at one of 40 U.S. centers into either a Clinical Trial (CT, N=68,132) or Observational Study (OS, N=93,676) cohort. Women in the CT participated in one of two menopausal hormone trials (HT, N=27,347) and/or a diet trial (N=48,835) for which breast cancer was a primary safety or prevention outcome, respectively, over half of whom also enrolled in a calcium/vitamin D RCT of fractures and colorectal cancer, also a primary outcome of the diet trial. NCI has funded collection of all cancer outcomes in the ongoing follow-up of participants in WHI Extension Study, many of whom are participating in additional ancillary studies and WHI is part of several cancer consortia.


SCI contact person: Marcia Stefanick, stefanick@stanford.edu

WHI Life and Longevity after Cancer

LILAC is an NCI infrastructure grant (Multi-PI: G. Anderson, FHCRC; B. Caan, Kaiser RI; E. Paskett, OSU) for a WHI cancer survivor cohort. The LILAC survey is sent to women (N of cases as of 2016) with colorectal (3074), endometrial (1702), ovarian (1168), breast (12,554), and lung (3514) cancers as well as melanoma (2230), leukemia (975), lymphoma (1630 NH, 69 H) at baseline and annually. In addition to collecting treatment and recurrence data, LILAC is obtaining paraffin-embedded tumor tissue for all cases of lung, colorectal, endometrial, ovary cancers, all cases of triple negative breast cancer and a subsample of receptor positive breast cancers (up to 2000 cancers).


SCI contact person: Marcia Stefanick, stefanick@stanford.edu


Oncoshare is a comprehensive breast cancer research tool that integrates data from several local and national resources: the statewide, population-based California Cancer Registry; electronic medical records (EMRs) from Stanford University Medical Center and multiple sites of the community-based Sutter-Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) healthcare system; detailed genomic sequencing results directly from clinical testing laboratories; and patient-reported data. Oncoshare contains de-identified records of more than 28,000 breast cancer patients treated at Stanford and/or PAMF since January 2000.


SCI contact person: Allison Kurian, akurian@stanford.edu

Other Cancer Registry Resources

Cancer Registry


The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End-Results (SEER) program of the NCI collects data on cancer diagnoses in 18 locations across the country, and annually collects information on approximately 1.5 million cancer cases (https://seer.cancer.gov/). Data from the GBACR and CCR have contributed to SEER for decades.

 Scarlett L. Gomez, Scarlett.Gomez@ucsf.edu


Cancer Registry

Greater Bay Area

The Greater Bay Area Cancer Registry (GBACR) gathers information about all cancers diagnosed or treated in a nine-county area (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz). Data on approximately 30,000 cases are collected annually (http://www.cpic.org/; data.release@cpic.org). GBACR data are recognized by national and international registry standard-setting organizations for being of the highest quality.

Scarlett L. Gomez, Scarlett.Gomez@ucsf.edu


Cancer Registry


The California Cancer Registry (CCR) includes data from the nine counties of the GBACR and is the state’s population-based cancer surveillance system. It is legally mandated to collect information about all cancers diagnosed in the state. Annually, approximately 150,000 cases are included (http://ccr.ca.gov/; research@ccr.ca.gov).

Scarlett L. Gomez, Scarlett.Gomez@ucsf.edu