Visitors are not permitted at Sunnybrook. Read more »

Hospital  >  Welcome  >  News, Media & Publications  >  Photography  >  Breast Cancer Awareness Month  >  2017 Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign FAQ

About this project

This year, nearly 26,300 Canadian women and 230 Canadian men will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Each October in Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we aim to raise awareness about breast cancer prevention, detection, treatment, survivorship and loss.

These photos of women whose lives have been affected by breast cancer each tell a story — the pink powder is used as a symbol of breast cancer to each woman in her own unique way.

We hope that sharing these women’s visually stunning photos and their stories of strength, fear, uncertainty, friendship, defiance and joy will help continue the conversation about this cancer that will affect 1 in 8 Canadian women in their lifetime. The project also honours and remembers those who have died.

» Why pink?

We chose the colour pink — with the support of our participants — because the colour has been associated with breast cancer awareness for many years. As one of our models said “It’s a new way to breathe life and movement into that pink symbolism associated with breast cancer.”

» What’s the powder made out of? Is it safe?

The powder used in this photoshoot is from PurColour. The powder is non-toxic and corn starch based. The only colours used in PurColour Celebration Powder are approved by U.S. FDA for food consumption, drug and external cosmetics.


Corn Starch Food Grade, Calcium Carbonate Food Grade, Sodium Bicarbonate Food Grade TFF, and one or more of the following colorants; FD&C Blue #1 Lake, FD&C Blue #2, FD&C Red #40 Lake, D&C Red #7 Calcium Lake, FD&C Yellow #5 Lake, FD&C Yellow #6, Iron Oxide and Ultra Marine Blue.

» Who is the photographer?

Kevin Van Paassen is an award-winning photographer who has covered a broad range of assignments over his career, including the war in Afghanistan, the 2012 Olympic Games in London and Canada's health-care system. He is a staff photographer at Sunnybrook.

» Who are the women in the photos?

The women in the photos are moms, daughters, friends, grandmas, athletes, organizers, volunteers, business owners and health-care professionals. And they all have an experience with breast cancer. You can learn a little more about each woman in the photo gallery.

» Learn more about Breast Cancer Care at Sunnybrook

» What is Look Good, Feel Better?

Founded in 1992, Look Good Feel Better has been helping women and teens with cancer feel like themselves again for the past 25 years. When a woman is diagnosed with cancer, she's no longer the mother, sister, friend, or colleague, she's "the cancer patient."

The disease can rob her of a sense of self.

Look Good Feel Better offers a workshop in more than 100 cancer centres across the country that supports 10,000 women and teens each year, giving them the tools and techniques to feel beautiful and vital. In so doing, it helps restore this sense of self and renew a feeling of womanhood, however they choose to define it.

» Special thanks to

To our models for making shoot day a fun, memorable — and very pink — experience. Caroline, Claire, Deborah, Dinah, Dolores, Florianne, Karima, Lan, Nelly and Yvette: thank you so much for sharing a piece of yourselves.

To Kirk and Deyanne from Look Good Feel Better: thank you for volunteering your Saturday to help our models look and feel fabulous.